Archive for January, 2010

Coca-Cola Shows Stories Are Inherently Viral

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

The recent Internet phenomenon surrounding Coca-Cola’s innovative video commercial demonstrates just how powerful an effectively-told story can be. As reported in an online Fast Company article by Ravi Sawhney, the video launched on on January 12 and within two weeks had gained 1 million views. If you haven’t’ seen it already, take a look:

What makes this particular video so engaging? First, it easily achieves the overall mission of any communications:

  • Grab attention
  • Clearly convey information
  • Make it clear to the audience what you want them to do

The video uses the tool of storytelling especially well. Set in a familiar, everyday environment and featuring an ordinary-looking Coke machine, the video hooks you right away by arousing your curiosity. What’s so different about this machine? What’s going to happen? How will people react? The strong dose of humor seals the deal. As any trainer knows, when people are laughing and having a good time, they give up their normal skepticism and resistance and willingly welcome the message. They get the point effortlessly.

As this video illustrates, stories touch people’s hearts as well as their minds; they reveal something about ourselves as we observe other people’s behavior; and they deliver a message in a memorable way. How did you react? What do you think is the most effective part of the video?

Have We Lost Focus of Our Own Stories?

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

A recurring comment, almost word for word, over the 2009 holidays has been, “I’m so glad this decade is over. It’s definitely time to celebrate the end of the ’00s and start fresh!”

It’s been a tough decade, to be sure. An interesting perspective in The Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition was written by Peggy Noonan, who describes the first decade of the 21st Century as a time when when many great American institutions have taken their focus off their missions, with key individuals shirking personal responsibility.

She includes the federal government in that group, along with Wall Street, the Catholic Church and public schools. “…as all these institutions forgot their mission, they entered the empire of spin. They turned more and more attention, resources and effort to the public perception of thier institution and not to the reality of it.” She says the focus has been on devising talking points rather than the carrying out the founding values-driven mission each of the institutions was founded upon.

Do you agree? Read the piece at and then let us know what you think.