When we last left our intrepid hero on the road to narrative success, I was breaking down the four classic narrative tropes. Not just out of the goodness of my heart, though. Nope. Out of a desire to help make marketing that doesn’t suck. And as luck would have it, there is an incredible of excellent marketing that concentrates on the next trope. So let’s take a look at…
Protagonist vs. Society, ie: The Man Can’t Keep Me Down (Unless We’re Talkin’ Orwell Because In That Case Yikes), Fighting the Good Fight, Plucky Hero Battling Overwhelming Odds, Me vs. An Entire Culture Set Up For Folks Who Are Morning People Where Is My Coffee
And wow, for those of you who don’t remember, Mac did this better’n anyone. It’s no accident I mentioned George Orwell above.
In 1984, during the third quarter of the Super Bowl, Apple decided to introduce the Macintosh personal computer with a big budget boom. Directed by no less than Ridley Scott, the commercial never aired again due to a lawsuit from the Orwell estate.
It didn’t need to air again. It blew the roof off with just one national broadcast. And it was so startling that Apple got loads of free repetition — news programs showed the whole thing over and over again.
This thing is so well constructed. With minimal time, the ad uses drab colors to create a dystopian nightmare shattered by the brightness of both the one person who tears it all down, athlete Anya Major, and the exploding screen. This is how you do it. Maximum storytelling power packed into a single punch. A concentrated dose of awesome.
The great thing about this narrative trope is that you don’t have to have a budget capable of luring in the director of Blade Runner. How could you use this trope in your own social media marketing as a small- or medium-sized business?
Positioning yourself as the scrappy underdog isn’t hard when you actually are the scrappy underdog — and if you’re an SMB, that’s pretty much the case. So what about a campaign featuring a clever hashtag? #mightytiny doesn’t take up too many characters in case you need to use it on Twitter, and doesn’t make you sound ineffectual.
Or how about an infographic? There are multiple free or very low cost services to help you create one if you’re small enough not to have in-house graphic design. Concentric circles like a target, each labeled with statistics about the reality of your industry. X number of, say, realtors in the country. Y dollars of big ad budgets for the biggest names in the field. Z number of pros in the area. Then there’s you in the center, the only one like you, concentrated awesome just like Macintosh.
Finally, a sidenote: Be careful about overtly demonizing your competitors. It can backfire by making you look creepy. And we have a very strict anti-creepy policy around these parts, mm?
Tune in next time, when we take a gander at the next trope ripe for the plucking.