Power of Stories

I read a good article about the power of telling stories when you give a presentation, the other day and then I was reminded of it again when I heard the latest radio advert for a Mercedes E-Class, which is running in the UK.

The advert goes something like:

My name is Christian Slater. The craziest thing I ever did has to hitchhike from Bitterwater to San Benito in a 110 degree heat. Nobody stopped,   I had nothing to drink, my mouth was dry,  every car that drove past kicked up a little more dust, and my mouth got a little dryer.  I wondered if it was possible to die of thirst right there in broad daylight on Highway 101.

I started walking and then I saw it, an orange grove. Man I picked the biggest sucker I could find.

But do you know what, I peeled that orange real slow, divided it up and only then did I put a piece in my mouth, and let that sweet sharp juice come flowing out.

I’ve eaten in some of the best restaurants in the world but nothing’s ever tasted as good as that orange, that day.

Pleasure comes in many forms, the new E class From Mercedes Benz is just the latest.


There is another from Danny Glover relating how he listened to Miles Davies at the back door of a club in New York and Philip Glenister on the sweet sensation of a well hit golf ball. You can listen to them here.

Maybe it is just because I am a good fit for their target market, but to me these adverts are far more powerful than ones which list the number of BHP, the MPG, the size of the boot or the quality of the build.

So next time your are giving a presentation, instead of listing off the features and benefits, try telling a story instead. Involve all the senses and you may just find another way to give your audience pleasure and yourself some satisfaction.


6 Responses to Power of Stories

  1. terry says:

    I disagree. I find this adverts ramblings tiresome and have little point in what they are selling. The current ads that you mention smacks of ‘im better than you’ in as much that ‘I have been to the best restaurants’ or ‘I play golf all the time’.

    Im in the age range and demongraphic that Merc are trying to sell to, but to me its wasted as I don’t want to be seen as someone who thinks they are better than anyone else.

  2. youngmarkets says:

    Interesting, I don’t see it as “I’m better than you” at all, however it has generated a reaction, which maybe endorses the strength of story telling rather than relaying facts, just in Terry’s case not the reaction Merc would have wanted.

  3. Boombats says:

    I can’t believe that anyone likes these adverts! It’s pure self indulgent over sentimental rubbish. I’m actually considering writing an official complaint about how much they offend me. Every time they come on the radio it makes my skin crawl. I haven’t heard anything as cheesy in ages. I thought that this kind of transparent advertising was a thing of the past. I can’t believe that anyone can actually relate to this overacted, romanticised drivell. To me it is just smug.

  4. Debatenator says:

    I am a very facts and figures man when it comes to business and pleasure. When I first heard these adverts I was paralysed with the engagement that each of the narrators infuses in the listener.

    It’s really comforting to know that Glover and Slater have these mini life stories that they choose to poetically share. Hearing of Slater’s story of abandon and adventure transcended me to those long forgotten days of my vague, innocent youth. Glovers adventure of love and exploration leaves me in longing for times like these. It is this raw honesty that completely sums up what the Mercedes brand is to me. That’s why these adverts work for me.

  5. Colin Michaels says:

    In my opinion they are very poor adverts. Yes they are horribly smug but, more importantly, from a marketing perspective they fail to engage the listener after the first listen. I switch the radio over every time it comes on because, fundamentally, they are long and very DULL. Even if I had liked it first time I would have done the same. Surely this can only serve (consciously or sub-consciously) to create a negative view of the product?
    I’m also in the merc target demographic. However, I don’t consider myself to be smug, dull etc. so will not be considering mercs off the back of these adverts. Or at all. Try a Russian meerkat next time. Simples..

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