Good stories have a point of a view. They put forth a perspective on the world as it unfolds around the viewer. The best stories are able to distill the chaos and noise in that world into a simply understood message. Nothing is more essential for a brand advertiser in today’s market where people have shorter attention spans and lower levels of trust than ever before.
Burger King’s Whopper Neutrality is a great story, for a few reasons. First, it’s entertaining. We watched the video and laughed along with the poor customers trying to figure out why it was taking so long to get their damn burger.
Second, it’s a simple story. We don’t mean it’s stupid, we mean the complex idea of something like “net neutrality” is distilled through a simple to understand context. As a political policy in the form of whitepapers, the concept of “net neutrality” can be heady or wonky territory. Burger King tells a succinct, straight-forward summary using its own products that makes the concept more digestible (see what we did there?) for someone who may not have the intellectual background — or the attention span — to read up on it.
Finally, there’s a social component to this story. Burger King is clearly taking a position on net neutrality — that it’s a good thing, and should be protected. That view is widely shared by the general population. Thus, Burger King has put itself out in favor of a populist position that should endear it to mass audiences, which should in turn help to burnish the Burger King brand and the company’s business in the form of traffic and sales.
This should serve as an example to other companies how storytelling as a service can be beneficial to both the brand and the bottom line. A recent study by Unilever indicates that 1 in 3 consumers buy from brands that promote social or environmental good. Brands like Patagonia and Airbnb have recently made taking a socio-political position central to their platforms.
As the global economy continues to evolve from product-centric to service-centric, it will become even more important for brands to showcase their service as a story, and not just the services they’re selling.