Beyond the Ad: So Many Ways to Story

When we think about technology and innovation, certain names come to mind who make everything from the phones in our pockets, to the TV in our living rooms to the refrigerators in our kitchen. Then there are the technology heavyweights who regularly push the boundaries of technology itself. 

But every year at CES, there are a few brands that stand out precisely because they don’t usually make tech products, yet here they are. Why? Because they understand the bigger story they are trying to tell the world and have found a new and compelling way to tell it. These brands understand that an “ad” serves a purpose, but technology opens new avenues, new chapters. They know that there are so many ways to tell a story.

Proof Points

P&G Innovates the Bathroom. For years Charmin has been telling us to “Enjoy the Go” via cartoon bears extolling the soft and durable virtue of Charmin toilet tissue. P&G has taken it a step further showing other ways for Charmin to help us enjoy our time when we are on the porcelain throne. The “Smell Sense” sensor warns you of bad odors before entering. And, the “Rollbot” gyroscopically balances a fresh roll atop, as it delivers to your hands what was once out of reach. 

New Heights of Convenience. Air-taxi anyone? Uber, which has built its reputation on revolutionizing the way we get from one place to the next, partnered with Hyundai to give us the flying cars we all thought we’d see by 2020. The story they are always trying to impart is how they want to be the best way for you to get from here to there. They succeeded at telling this story which was one of the most impressive and buzzed about debuts at the show.

Delta’s Story Takes Off. For the first time ever, Delta appeared at CES to prove how it is living up to the idea of “Keep Climbing.” Their story has always been about how much they care about making travel as efficient and enjoyable as possible. They featured an airport sign that shows you your personal information about your flight while others– looking at the same sign at the same time – are seeing personal information about their flight. And Delta says the signs will not be used for targeted advertising, further cementing their respect of the consumer experience.

Our CES favorites are usually the products that make you go hmmmm. Seeing what problems we are trying to solve with tech reveals as much about us as it does the state of the art.

Washington Post tech columnists Geoffrey A. Fowler and Heather Kelly 

Our View

Brands have a core story to tell. But only when brands have a clear understanding of what that story is, can they then find compelling and unexpected ways to tell it. Technology, in general, offers breakthrough ways to tell that story and change how people perceive your brand.

Further Reading:

  • Wrapping up CES 2020: Anxiety, Cats and Yet Another Streaming Service Called Quibi. Washington Post

  • Leaving Las Vegas: 7 Takeaways from CES 2020, Ad Age

  • CES 2020: Our Picks for Best of Show, USA Today

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