Detective Pikachu and the Case of the Warm and Fuzzies

Confession.

Last weekend I went to see the new Pokemon movie – Detective Pikachu.

I know, I know…

Like Bill Nighy in the role of Howard Clifford, I’m a bit too old for Pokemon.

I didn’t spend the 90s glued to my Gameboy or collecting trading cards that became the scourge of every teacher on break duty.

“You can have them back at the end of the day”.

No, back then I was a 20 something making my way in the world.

Not a little kid obsessed with collecting and battling pocket monsters.

I blame my wife.

Her son was a nipper when Pokemon first got huge.

And after buying all the games, merch and tat.

Pokemon board game anyone?

She became a big fan of the cartoon, watching it each morning before work.

Even today, her Pokemon knowledge is impressive.

As anyone who has witnessed her reciting evolutions will testify.

Charmander, Charmeleon, Charizard…

So, off we went to the cinema.

And do you know what?

An awesome time was had.

No, it wasn’t Citizen Kane.

But, it sure made us laugh out loud.

Ryan Reynolds voicing Pikachu was a hoot and Justice Smith was a charming lead.

Two hours of my life well spent.

As we filed out afterwards, it was interesting to clock the audience, who shared the grins on our faces.

Sure, there were little kids around.

But, mostly, we’d been in the company of Millennials, the original fans keen to indulge in some feel good nostalgia.

The perfect antidote to the stresses they’re facing as they grapple with the adult world.

And this warm, fuzzy feeling is something we can sprinkle on marketing to elicit a feel good response.

Not teaching you to suck eggs, but buying anything is driven by emotion not logic, the heart overruling the head.

Point being…

The music we listened to, the TV we watched, the toys we played with.

They make us smile when we see them again – a reminder of good times when life was carefree and simple.

Security, comfort and engagement bundled in one easy hit.

I mean…

If someone made an ad featuring the A-Team, soundtracked by Guns n Roses, I would probably spontaneously combust with sheer joy.

And when brands connect with us on an emotional level, we’re much more likely to act.

 

 

Storytelling in Copy – A Lesson From the NFL Draft

I’m a big fan of American football.

As a hardcore devotee, last Thursday I sat up into the wee hours to watch the NFL draft.

Imagine transfer deadline day, but a zillion times better.

The yanks version of football is different to ours in obvious ways:

Pads, helmets, ad breaks, cheerleaders…

And the not so obvious.

Like how the league prizes parity above all else.

Unlike say Real and Barca in Spain, NFL franchises receive an equal share of TV revenue no matter the size of their media market.

That combined with a salary cap means moneybags teams can’t just go out and snap up the best talent – a level playing field.

And the cherry atop the cake of equality?

New players enter the league through the draft.

The worst team from the previous season picks first and so on – there’s always the hope that a team that sucked can turn things around.

You only have to look at the viewing figures to see what a big deal it is.

In 2018, the first round was watched by a TV audience of 11.2 million.

That’s comfortably more than tuned in for ice hockey’s showpiece occasion – the Stanley Cup Finals.

Remarkable when you consider what those people are watching – essentially not much at all.

To the uninitiated, the draft goes something like this:

A team selects a player. Said player walks out onto a stage to pose with the NFL commissioner and mutters a few well rehearsed cliches about wanting to get to work and give his new team everything.

And that’s it x 32 until every team has made its pick.

Think about it.

More people watch the selection of players in one sport than actual blood and thunder winner takes all action in another.

Including night owls in the UK who have to run on caffeine at work the next day.

How on earth can this happen?

How can the NFL draft attract more interest than a series of ice hockey games with the ultimate prize on the line.

In a nutshell it comes down to one thing – storytelling.

People are gripped by an event that is essentially dead space because of the way it’s presented, which is a lot like reality TV.

These aren’t just anonymous athletes getting ready to step up to the pros.

These are real people with compelling back stories that fascinate us.

So, we root for them as the drama unfolds.

The amputee who’s a force of nature, even though he’s got one hand.

The undersized quarterback determined to prove the naysayers wrong.

The prospect who slid down the board and wants to show the teams who passed on him what he can do.

The guy who’s mom worked three jobs so he could have his shot at his dream.

Now he wants to buy her a house.

And this same technique is one we can use in copy.

Framing our communications around a story.

To make it more interesting, relatable, compelling…

No matter how mundane our offering might be.