People have long used advertising to tell stories, and one of the best examples of this was the old Gold Blend couple adverts – each new commercial slowly brought the story forward and, for a brief time in the 80s, they’d created a proper “will they, won’t they?” moment.
Now imagine if they were to release the commercial now, and the power that telling that story across multiple media could generate. Using lower-production web video to tell the story between each commercial, you could build the story of each of the protagonists’ lives – what did Anthony Head do whilst not looking for a coffee? Where did Sharon Maugham work? The trick of course if to have the television commercials make sense without needing to go online, whilst using the online space to develop the story further, and draw people further in.
What if off the back of this, these stories became interactive? What if users left comments on videos, or were asked to upload suggested storylines for upcoming commercials? What if their homes could be explored through an interactive online environment? Or what if those characters took on a real identity through second life or other virtual world?
The real power of the internet is to tell stories; to be able to truly interact with your audience and involve them in these stories. None of this need pretend to be real – it should be clear that this is simply a story, but it’s a story that the user can involve themselves in to almost any depth that they wish.
I think that could be the great power of the internet for communications – the depth of brand experience that it is capable of delivering. However, it should be remembered that alone – with nothing to drive people to the web in the first place – it could happily sit in cyberspace unnoticed and unloved. And I think thats where the power of integration could really be.