It’s said that a picture speaks a thousand words. When it comes to your print ad’s, what are yours saying?
Visual storytelling is the art of expressing messages through a picture, an art it pays to be aware of when it comes to designing any kind of printed material for marketing.
In today’s age, attention spans are shorter than ever, and audiences continue to expect more and more from their media. We want lots of information, and we want it now! Visual Storytelling is how you deliver on these needs.
Businesses that respond to the unique needs, wants, and expectations of audiences in 2017 with visual storytelling cultivate a competitive advantage. Consider these 5 examples of how visual storytelling helped these businesses stand out to your audiences and market!
1) WWF’S SHARK FIN AD
Few people are excited about the prospect of seeing a shark, but even fewer contemplate the reality of never getting to see one. This ad provokes exactly that thought by telling a compelling story about a possible future not too many are keen on realizing:
Most don’t like sharks, but we respect and recognize their equal right to exist on this planet. By posing the possibility of their extinction, as an audience, we’re exposed to an unpleasant reality and naturally want to find a solution. WWF allows it’s audience to participate in that solution by including directions to its website, where a reader can ease their anxiety by learning more about what they can do to prevent and solve the ecological problems this ad has led them to think about.
More effective than two equivalent pages of text, this ad communicates a clear message with serious power by telling a story with images. In mere moments, a reader not only understands the message but feels it with an impact words would struggle to match. Because they feel it, they remember it and are far more likely to engage with it as a result.
2) DETTOL HAND SANITIZER
Anyone who has spent significant time around kids know that their hands get everywhere. Not yet conscious of what’s good to touch, what isn’t, or how to keep your hands clean; kids hands can get into some gross stuff! We can’t always see whats on a child’s hands, but this ad is sure to remind a viewer of the importance of keeping your child’s hands clean!
Whereas the visual story above was telling us something about where things are going, this one serves to remind us where things have been. In this case, a child’s hands!
If looking too long at the picture above makes you uncomfortable, this ad has done its job! All good stories include rising tension, and this ad does so by offering more and more uncomfortable detail the more a viewer looks at the picture.
The more tension we feel throughout a story, the more we appreciate it’s resolution. The ‘climax’ or ‘solution’ to this story is Dettol hand sanitizer! Any parent who sees this ad is liable to immediately become aware of not only how dirty their child’s hands are, but start thinking about what kind of dirty. So long as they’re thinking this, tension will build until they achieve resolution by using some Dettol!
3) HUT WEBER HATS
This one is certainly provocative. For reasons we can all understand, this style of mustache that will forevermore be on the fashion ‘blacklist’. It’s simply impossible not to associate it with the man who wore it so infamously.
Or is it?
On the left, there’s simply no denying that what we’re looking at is a representation of one of the most notoriously immoral human beings to have ever lived. The side-part and mini-stache is a fashion symbol so powerful that no-one would dare wear it for fear of being associated with Hitler.
The fact that a Hut Weber hat can challenge such a powerful association is a testament to the brand’s fashion power. With the simple addition of one of their hats, the meaning behind a symbol we thought was so powerful is immediately changed. Where we saw one of the most notorious dictators in human history, we now see a completely different person. A gentleman.
With nothing more than simple, abstract shapes, we bear witness to a powerful challenge to our assumptions and beliefs with the simple addition of a hat! Able to turn even Hitler himself into a refined gentleman, the viewer thinks that surely it can do so for him, and thus associates the power of this symbol with Hut Weber.
4) GUINNESS SELLS FRIENDSHIP
This ad has nothing to do with stout. It has to do with the real reason why we like to drink it!
While not so popular in North America, it’s a European tradition for everyone to pile their mobile phones in the center of a table when drinking with friends at the Pub. The idea is that the phones will eventually buzz, and the first person to go and snatch theirs will have to buy everyone around.
This ad uses visual storytelling to imply a tale of many friends having a good time at the pub, away from their devices, enjoying each others company. An ultra-simple, elegant picture, it’s easy to remember and gets its job done well. Anyone who can relate to such an experience will surely enjoy the thoughts the picture creates, and be sure to associate those thoughts and feelings with the Guinness brand! Perhaps they’ll even be compelled to reach out to a few friends for a night out at the pub!
5) ADIDAS KEEPS US MOVING
This series of 3 magazine ads are shown in advertising and marketing classes worldwide for good reason!
Offering viewers a novel way to engage and interact with advertising material, this ad packs a serious punch with the way it deploys simple images.
Good ads are easy to remember. Great ones are impossible to forget. By affording readers the ability to actively engage with advertising material, we don’t just see but experience the message this ad is telling.
Instead of simply holding lofty standards of beauty in front of a viewer to compel them to engage with products or services, Adidas takes a different tact by simply reminding the reader that the act of exercise isn’t as hard to achieve as they might think.
While turning the page of a magazine isn’t exactly exercise, the act of doing so can connect a reader with a different perspective on the nature of the exercise, that ultimately all you’ve got to do is move!
HOW TO TELL YOUR BRAND STORY WITH PRINT
So you’ve seen how other brands can elegantly create compelling messages with simple pictures. But how do you do it for your brand?
Each brand is unique, and so a single approach to determining a brand story, and how to tell it, isn’t always a good idea.
Defining yours takes a tailored approach.