FT Rejects Biz Storytelling, ...


The grab bag returns with three vignettes from the wacky world of communications.


Financial Times Rejects Business Storytelling

The job description for columnists always includes the verb, provoke.

In this regard, I suppose the column by FT’s Lucy Kellaway, “Stories Are Best for the Bible and In Novels” works. After all, I’m taking the time to call out Ms. Kellaway for her flawed argument and for ridiculing a novelist trying his hand at business storytelling:

“Yet what distresses me most is that big name novelists are getting behind the fad. If a few impoverished writers are fleecing story-crazed corporates, that is fine. But last week I read in Fast Company that Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, has become chief storytelling officer at the image consultancy Wolff Olins. This is as sad as it is inexplicable. How could the man who wrote the brilliantly funny “How To Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia” accept such a pompous, ludicrous title? Storytellers can never be a chief anything, let alone an officer. They have no place in the C-suite.”

While Ms. Kellaway may be a gifted storyteller, most business executives are not. They need help.

If Mohsin Hamid finds pleasure in a regular paycheck and helping executives get their arms around a “happily ever after,” what’s the big deal?

She goes on to say later in the column:

“The trouble with stories is that to have any effect they have to be good ones — and most people are rubbish at telling them. A further problem is that the more interesting you make them, the less likely they are to be true. “


That’s why they need help.


The Appeal of Images That Move

If you spend time on Twitter feeds from media properties, you’ll notice that some of the images move.

For example, a Mashable story on “smart sheets” carried this gif that then got shoved through the publication’s social channels.smart bed gifThe movement serves as an attention-getting ploy, which in turn generates more clicks to the stories.

Of course, it requires a certain level of expertise and time to create the action images found in Mashable, Fast Company and the like.

That’s why the following example from Moz caught my attention.cats vs kittens gifAnimation doesn’t always have to be a big ticket item and complicated.

In the Moz animated GIF, the simple “flash” on the cat face square delivers the action.


The Deception Game Continues

I’ve shared in previous posts that the complexity of native advertising challenges the FTC to keep up.

How can we expect the FTC to tackle native advertising when the agency can’t even flag a blatant infomercial masquerading as a TV show?

Check out the teaser below.Larry King special reportThe show is actually called “Larry King Special Report” with the summary explaining that “Larry Investigates Omega XL.”

This type of obvious deception happens every day.

Yet the boys (and girls) at the FTC seem to keep missing it. Perhaps they’ve cut the cord and don’t watch cable.

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