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    Backstory Copywriting for fun and profit...

    The rock band Alida developed a Myst-like fantasy game backstory. Although the article is about game design, the backstory idea applies to copywriting for any business or website.

    In an era where music business models are under pressure, Alida is developing a story they can turn into a product to sell. Dr. Direct, a whimsical comic-strip superhero, was used by Brooks Instrument to publicize the Quantim precision mass flow controller to a scientific user base.

    These companies recognize the rise of the entertainment economy. Strangely enough, for all the sites going overboard with Flash animation, there's little acknowledgement of what makes a special effect into entertainment: A Story.

    In contrast, many sites are contextless bits. The logo, stock photography, copywriting and layout all look good - they may look good together - they just don't connect to each other. Elements which would just as good on any other site share one thing -- a layout container.

    The result is like an episode of TV's Lost: lots of content, interesting characters and situations, but no plot.

    Backstories As Marketing Technique
    The Keebler elves are a backstory technique for branding. Excedrine headache #87 isn't a medical condition, it's a story people can relate to.

    Wendy the Snapple lady is not a fashion model from the stock photography archives.

    Pundits blamed the "big corporate sell" approach as the downfall of Quaker's Snapple. Previously, Snapple was marketed toward a niche market and enjoyed a relatively empty cooler, but the increased competition from brands such as Lipton, Nestea and Coca-Cola's new Fruitopia threw Snapple into its own marketing frenzy. Gone were the unconventional pitchmen such as offbeat New York radio personality Howard Stern and Wendy, the comforting Snapple Lady with whom thirsty consumers seemed to identify.

    -- Snapple, best stuff? Brandchannel
    While it seems like the default web style is "generic corporate behemoth," Snapple found success with the real people approach. When they abandoned the approach, sales slid. Instead of a stock photography fashion model pretending to be an employee, try a real employee story. Small companies wanting to "look big" could learn from the Snapple Lady story.

    Instead of the pixel perfect image consciousness, try something which resonates with the customer. Instead of an attractive veneer which only glosses the surface, try a story with a little substance.
    Last edited by DCrux; Mar 28, 2007 at 10:13.


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