To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Airbnb launched a beautifully animated commercial video that tells the true story of two former border guards who were reunited through the lodging website. The ad tells the story of Jorg and Kai who were reunited after Jorg’s daughter booked him a trip [...]
|Scooped by Karen Dietz|
I agree with everything colleague Omar Kattan says in this blog post, particularly his ending statement about empathy and business results.
And I applaud AirBnB (I am a loyal customer) for going after stories. I love the graphics of the video, too.
But I am going to point out a few areas for improvement for the story. Why? Because I want all companies to excel in crafting/sharing stories. Yet what I experience most often is just OK. That means $$ and opportunities are left on the table.
My comments are not about AirBnB -- but about most of the business stories I see around the web these days.
So let's take a teaching moment here. These are 4 ways this story could be waaaaayyyy better with some basic story crafting skills:
- Give names to characters. Research shows again and again that nameless faceless characters don't create empathy in the listener. Audiences have a harder time connecting to stories when names are absent. Give us names here of the guards -- Jorge and Kai -- and the daughter.
- Why does the former guard carry a piece of the wall with him??? Why is this a barrier for him in life? What trauma happened?? Is the main character's experience psychological or does he actually physically carry a piece of the wall around with him? I can guess, but it's hard to know. What we are given are concepts/platitudes, not a concrete motivation that moves the story along. This is a classic storytelling mistake. The story would have been much better if we had known something like, "Even after the wall came down, Jorg just couldn't let go of the depressing horrors he'd seen of people trying to escape the East or be reunited with loved ones after decades of isolation." That's too wordy, but you get the idea.
- There's a huge part of the story missing: how did the daughter actually find Kai? How was the problem of finding Kai solved? Inquiring minds want to know. And how does AirBnB fit in? There's some real storytelling meat here that we never get.
- And finally, why was Jorg different after meeting Kai? Was it friendship and forgiveness that healed Jorg? Or something else? And what was life like afterwards? A big transformation happened that the audience missed out on because no details are provided.
Adding these pieces would only have taken another minute or so. Don't leave home without named characters, motivation, problem resolution steps, and more details about the transformation.
Thanks for listening and go craft awesome stories!
This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it