On Storytelling and MCI…

I’ve been thinking about storytelling lately. I’ve done a few “be a better speaker” talks inside Opti in the last few months, and that’s put me on a quest to figure out how we really understand things.

This got me in the mood to re-watch one of my favorite videos. It’s a five-minute long commercial, produced by MCI in the mid-90s. It aired on CNN and told the story of the fictional “Grammercy Press,” a small publishing company on the cusp of the Internet age.

(Please remember that this was 1995. Back then, all of the stuff in this commercial was like magic. Most people had never conceived of working like this. It’s nostalgic for a lot of us.)

I’ve always loved this (and not only because I had…ve a huge crush on Katy Selverstone). It tells such a great little self-contained story. The acting is weirdly good for a commercial, there’s some hinted-at backstory (an office romance of some kind), and there’s a theme winding through it about personal growth and change in the form of an older partner who’s stuck in his ways.

If you’re a creative, or you work in marketing, it’s worth watching. There’s a lot to learn from here about how we connect with customers.

(I would love a sequel. Maybe we could show them implementing Optimizely in 2024? I’m sure Shafqat Islam will give me the budget…)

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