Mad Men, an Oreo ad, storytelling and shareable content

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I rarely watch TV shows live. That’s what my DVR is for; I record nearly every show I like and then watch it when it’s convenient. And yes, I usually take a break or fast forward through the commercials.

Last Sunday night though, I did something out of the ordinary. The visuals of an ad I was fast forwarding through to get to the next segment of Mad Men were so arresting that I actually stopped the recording and pressed “rewind” so I could watch it in real time.

It was the premiere of the Oreo “Wonder Filled” 90-second ad. I loved the way the catchy music, whimsical lyrics, evocative illustration style and engaging animation all coalesced into a wonderful short-form story.

Premiering the Oreo ad during Mad Men was a fantastic tie-in. Nutrition matters aside, the ad mines a core nostalgic element about what it might be like as a kid to conquer deep-seated fears and make the world a better place by sharing a cookie with big scary monsters (and a friend.) It’s storytelling at its most whimsical and engaging.

At its storytelling best, Mad Men dramatizes how great advertising is created and executed. Some of my favorite episodes center on Don Draper’s creation and charismatic presentation of compelling client campaigns. In recent seasons, Peggy Olson and Megan have had some fine moments developing and presenting client work too—telling stories that bring brands closer to their customers.

I sometimes share my thoughts about Mad Men episodes on social media the next day, but this past week, the Oreo ad captured my imagination and that’s what I shared on Monday.

I was curious to see if others were sharing the video as well, so I checked YouTube, and it had garnered 17,994 views the day after it aired. It’s now four days later, and the video has over 200,000 views. Here it is, in case you haven’t seen it yet:

This experience got me thinking about content and what compels people to share it. Derek Halpern wrote a post on his Social Triggers blog on how to craft content that will be shared and hopefully become a viral phenomenon.  Drawing from Jonah Berger‘s research,  Derek wrote that a strong emotional component is key.

In a guest post on SEOMoz, Kelsey Libert wrote that content eliciting positive emotions such as amusement, surprise and delight trumps content that provokes negative emotions like anger, frustration and doubt. A strong visual component is also a key aspect of content that is likely to be shared.

What is your favorite example of content that you have shared with your networks?


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Note: this post was updated on November 14, 2013 with a working version of the “Wonderfilled” Oreo ad. The previous video that had over 200,000 views in its first few days was made private on YouTube.


Categories: Communication, Culture, Digital Marketing, Graphic Design and Art Direction, Infographics, Our Times

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