Storytelling in Commercials – Examples from Cannes Festival of Creativity 2018

Given the (short) duration and (high) frequency of broadcast, it is always a challenge to get people to watch video/tv commercials. When the message is too light, people will forget. When the message is too long or too deep, people will get lost.

Fortunately, people do value insights, and insights is more likely to stick in people’s minds when they are paired with a solution that never crossed their minds before. This is when structured and conscious storytelling comes in handy.

Let’s look at three examples from the winners of Cannes Festival of Creativity 2018:

  1. Stories from the past

In 2018, there are less and less survivors of the Second World War left. Hence, less and less (his)stories are being told. KPN, a Dutch telecommunication company which believes in the value of connecting people, thinks that these stories must be forwarded to the new generation.

How do you tell stories from more than 70 years ago to these kids who were born into the world of YouTube? Well, why not contact a vlogger from the year 1945?

The stories in the series are based on real stories, experienced by real people. They  communicate KPN’s brand values to the audience (family is important, how you survive as a family, etc) and with more people making conscious decisions with purchases, the authenticity will help brands to win the market. You can follow the series at

  1. Story of creating a new habit

Children in India eat with their hands, and just like any other children in the world, they don’t always wash their hands with soap afterwards. The Savlon Swasth came with this first of its kind initiative in creating a new good habit, by offering a new solution.

The commercial is a part of storytelling and visual engagements series that educate and encourage children to adopt good hand hygiene practices.

  1. Story of making blood normal 

The commercial starts in high gear with three tweets about how menstruation is disgusting, continued with news about a teenage girl committed suicide after being ridiculed because of her period. The commercial then continues with shots involving (blood) period in people’s daily life. Uncensored. Because the only way to defeat a stigma is to normalize it. Because having a period is normal and women should hide it.

The sanitary pad brand Libresse is not afraid of using storytelling with such bold visuals to convey their message. I must admit, maybe because I’m not used to seeing these visuals on public spaces, they come to me as confronting. And I am a woman! The commercial got me thinking. The message is sinking.

What do you think? Is it working?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s