Ajeesh Venugopalan
Guest Article

Storytelling! Is that greater than Politics?

Read on to find out...

Mark, Sully and Man went for a walk one beautiful evening in February 2018. After a while, they arrived at a river. Mark jumped into the river and drowned himself. Sully ran to find a hiding place and then the narrator falls silent. There is a long silence before the audience impatiently cries out, "And what about the Man?" The narrator replies in a flash, "The man stood there and watched the fun".

Storytelling! Is that greater than Politics?

Ajeesh Venugopalan

Every story makes a promise with which it lures its audience. What's the twist that wrenches the suspense against their guts and keeps them hanging breathlessly? I think it's the imagination of a good writer who creates the future and not just a theme like 'Creating a Better future' or 'The future is Blah Blah Blah'. I will leave it to the readers to use their imagination and figure out the Mark, Sully and Man amongst ourselves. Every story, if you look at the history of the world, will have a protagonist and an antagonist.

Rama and Ravana in Ramayana, Bheema and Duryodhana in Mahabharata or Prince Paris of Troy and King Menelaus of Sparta. Ironically all of these examples portray the woman as the cause of the war. What if the woman is the cause of the war as well as the Antagonist in the story? Will that not be exciting enough for many of us to enjoy that Soap Opera, at least for the next five years to come?

Apparently, if you rip apart the bleak state of affairs of the marketing stories across the industry, I dare you to find a much larger political apathy behind the scenes which crushes it and squeezes the original essence, even before it could see the light of the day. Standardising creativity; there would not have been a better joke for many generations to come.

In a recent article that I read in Campaignlive.co.uk, it was mentioned in a recent survey released during MWC 2018, which confirms that for 85 per cent of global mobile marketers agree that 'video' is going to be the priority investment over the course of the next 12 months. What's more, three-quarters of the marketers considered it very or critically important to their 2018 strategy.

From a creative angle, let me read the data differently - I would say 85 per cent of the Global Marketers couldn't think of any other channel of marketing other than video. Most of the marketers today arrange for a videographer and allow their senior-most leaders to do an impromptu rather than trying to get the story right. Isn't this standardisation of creativity and does this leave the marketers with many choices?

Positively, Yes! You also have a choice of becoming the storyteller who remains busy writing the future. Stories can be written with much higher moral values than its current state, giving room to the creative folks to take wings and fly.

Are stories more compelling than politics? Some of you may differ with me. Not in the least because so much of the politics around us is spun like yarn and Jazz. Of course, some of them are above our pay grades!

In 1984, Terminator, an American science fiction film was released, written by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd. Thirty-four years from then, the common people like you and me could see that day portrayed in the movie get closer to reality. The central theme that drove MWC this year was AI and Automation. Most booths at MWC this year had something to talk about with regard to AI or Automation. However, every single one of them had a standard template to narrate the story. Very few exceptions remain and continue to Innovate. Appreciate them!

I would rather challenge this genre to standardise life. Let's hope that they succeed in providing equal quality of life to the world population. Politics, I will keep that away until you get on my nerves. Oh, by the way, I am still sad that Mark drowned himself.

(The author is a senior marketer at Wipro)

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