1995: a seminal year for story-telling. Clueless hit our screens, serving up a myriad of iconic catchphrases and never-forget outfits that typified 90s high-school culture. However, it might not be what Jane Austin had in mind when she penned Emma in 1815, the story from which Clueless was adapted. While the tempo and lingo evolved from the page to the silver screen the story remained the same. The tale of friendship, family and failed match-making was as engaging in Georgian times as was in an MTV-era – the story survives.
When it comes to advertising, the importance of 'the story' lives on. The desire to incite good-feeling, trust and desire for a brand is as important now as it has been since advertising's conception. The element of creative story-telling, as a powerful tool, has remained steadfast through changing technologies and trends – even though brands themselves come and go. Every brand has a story to tell but how does a story stay relevant and rousing to today's sophisticated and weary-of-being-advertised-to audience?
With various performance metrics up for debate, trust and authenticity is central to creating meaningful consumer relationships – this has always been true, but how that trust is instilled is evolving. In a saturated landscape, the beauty consumer may be sceptical of wishy-washy stats presented in display ads* ("98% of 12 women agree this works" – seriously people, widen the net!) but when that right-on, Insta-famous beauty editor says she believes in it, we believe too – after all she's the authority and her reputation is on the line.
What Oath has at its fingertips is access to a portfolio of trusted sources ready to tell that story with an authentic voice. Advertisers need trust-worthy connections in a world overflowing with throwaway sentiment. But how do we do this? Oath are experts in the excavation of potential tales of wonder. We are matchmakers of love stories between brands and publishers – and like Clueless we are compelled to find new, modern, barrier-pushing ways of doing this to keep new audiences engaged and inspired. We understand that whether it's copy, graphics, video, AR, VR or immersive experience there are many ways to tell an emotive story and it's our job to find the most holistic way for brand and publisher to work together. Whether it's evoking childhood memories in parents for Cadbury or humanising the solitary world of business travel for Crowne Plaza, we're striving to find stories that resonate, and messages that last. A bit like David Attenborough, we know our stuff, we have a trustworthy voice and we have a legacy that endures. It's these character traits that brands rely upon to distribute their message – and we are dedicated to find new, wonderful ways to do this.
Will we ever stop story-telling? Well, in the words Cher Horowitz from Clueless, "as if!"
*This assumes the ad in question has navigated beyond an ad-blocker
Isla Heller, Commercial Editor at Oath