It was a day of stories, starting with the Saatchi and Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase, presented by Bob Isherwood, the agency’s worldwide creative director, displaying the talent of 20 new film-makers from around the world.

K V Sridhar

The next session, held by John Norman, executive creative director at independent advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy and Ivan Wicksteed, global creative director at Coca-Cola Co., spoke on the lost art of storytelling and the creation of the Happiness Factory, the fairy tale movie which is a part of Coca-Cola’s advertising campaign.

Coca-Cola has been known for showing us the most wonderful stories through its ads: Santa Claus, polar bears and even its corporate colour—red. This time it has created the Happiness Factory. If you have not seen it as yet, log on to YouTube and watch this modern fairy tale. It’s a magical story that mixes optimism, mystery and imagination and shows us what perhaps does happen inside a Coca-Cola vending machine once the coin is inserted. With the use of animated characters, Happiness Factory in no way resembles an ad, but rather a beautiful story, a lot like the fairy tales we all would have heard when we were young.

It became very clear that in the future, brands should be great storytellers to woo consumers. And what makes for good stories are that they are timeless, they have characters we love, take our mind on a journey and lastly show us the truth. One look at Happiness Factory and you too will see how all these elements have been incorporated into this story, which helped create a strong emotional bond with consumers.

Not everyone can make a Happiness Factory, but what we should attempt is to make brands the source of beautiful stories. Then our work will stop being seen as ads and become integral to people’s lives. Brands in India have built stories around characters (The Onida Devil), but we need to concentrate on the stories we share. Are they rich? Are they entertaining? Do they touch viewers at an emotional level? If your brand was able to answer these questions well, you would not need to worry about your sales figures.

With three more shortlists in the films category and a strong contender for the Titanium, we are keeping our fingers crossed for India to make this year the best so far at Cannes.

K.V. Sridhar is national creative director of Leo Burnett India Pvt. Ltd.

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