How Good Is Your Story?

This is not a political post. It is not an endorsement, or a condemnation. It's simply an observation that applies to each of us.

I was watching Hillary Clinton's speech last night after she lost Wisconsin. This being Obama's ninth straight win over her, it's fair to say she's really on the ropes. Her political advisers must be acutely aware of this, because she's starting to attack Obama's strength. Over and over again, she pronounced "We need solutions, not speeches!" This weekend on Face the Nation, I heard Clinton's campaign manager accusing Obama of being all fluff and no substance. They're trying to take Obama's public speaking strength and turn it into his Achilles' heel.

But here's the thing: After Hillary's speech - which was punctuated by pattered applause - Obama takes to the podium to address his supporters in Texas.

And the place is going absolutely nuts.

Sure, they were celebrating his Wisconsin win. But it's more than that. When Barack Obama speaks, people behave the way our parents did when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. Whether he's fluff or substance isn't something people debate when he's speaking. Because when he speaks he excites people. He makes them feel great. He stirs their emotions. Hillary can talk all she wants about solutions vs. speeches, but if she doesn't start to elicit responses the way Obama does, she'd better get comfy in her Senate chair.

What does this have to do with advertising? It's all storytelling.

Say I have two ads for two different pairs of jeans. One ad gives me the straight facts. It tells me in simple terms that these jeans are made of the most durable material, that they will not fade, and they will be comfortable. The other ad simply makes me feel "I have got to get those jeans!" Which ad is more persuasive?

I don't pretend to know which candidate's going to be the best for our country. But most people vote the same way the buy: heart first, and maybe the head can tag along. People want a candidate/brand/product/service that makes them feel good. Don't confuse this with lying or covering up the truth (that's just a false feeling waiting for backlash to happen). It's about emotion.

When you're doing your ads, you need to use emotion. Facts are good. Facts can even help. But emotion is what is going to convince, persuade, and even rally.