A storyteller is how I like to define myself whatever the medium I use: photography, fragrances or marketing.
Recently I made a significant discovery surfing on the web that pushed me to the next level when I first read the word storylogue. Storylogue, I could not imagine such a word existed until I got to know Robert McKee. He is the kind of person you listen to carefully since each and every one of his words have such a deep meaning.
Why do I write stories? Why do we all love stories? To my first question his answer is:
“A storyteller is a life poet”
We tell stories about real life, or dreamt life. I personally stage an idealised life in my pictures, but many brands tell stories today too.
So, what do we learn from this fictional version? To comprehend the present, maybe.
“We are not taught to live (…)”
For artists, life is a clue we try to understand. Art is our means of expression and a learning tool about who we are. It is a way to balance the inner chaos and to restore harmony. The philosopher Nietszche said:
“No artist tolerates reality”
Reality does not attract me as an artist. I stage it. I transform it to absorb it into my dreamy world, to control it.
Life is a question mark for all of us. “Why we are here? What is the sense of life?”. Robert McKee analyses that philosophy, art, science and theology, the four wisdoms, they have tried since ancient times to give answers to these existential questions. But what is the situation today?
Let’s start with philosophy. We can say that today philosophy is not at its best. There are less and less people reading books, and reading philosophy books, even less. In Paris, I recently attended The Creative Journey conference organised by Nelly Rodi, a renowned trend agency. The first speaker of the day was the philosopher Gaspard Koenig. His allocution was about luxury, and I must say, it was very interesting to put some perspective to the short-term vision, the instantaneity of our society.
The second wisdom Art questions reality, puts it upside down, rejects it, transforms it, and reinvents it. Art is freedom. You put limits if you wish to. You are the one to decide. Until recently, I believed that it was a means for me to escape from reality, but after listening to Robert McKee, maybe it is totally the contrary, and maybe it is to live more intensely.
And what about Science? Everyday we learn more about our species thanks to science. Recently I read an article on a Chinese investigation about Alpha men. Yes, science has the answer. They actually found that in mice Alpha male characteristics have to do with genetics. The myth of Prince Charming is falling apart! Science is also staged in marketing campaigns to connect deeply with the audience. There is a wonderful example with Momondo, a travel search website as the company describes itself, in which they use science to sell more trips.
Do you really know yourself? Momondo campaign revealing ancestry DNA to volonteers . 2016
And finally, Theology. Less and less people believe today, this is a fact. It seems this is no longer the space where we look for answers. But despite the fact, we see more and more brands using mysticism and spirituality to market products and particularly in the beauty and fragrance markets. The most recent example is a campaign by Paco Rabanne to promote the latest male fragrance release Pure XS. It presents a modernised version of Adam, the original Alpha male. When the video ends, we imagine each and every Eve will eat the apple at a moment or another.
Pure XS by Paco Rabanne . New campaign released in July 2017
To summarise, in our daily routine, we hardly open a book however we read a lot through social media, less and less people practice religion, and science is still seen as elitist, with no immediate answer to our questions.
In the entertainment way of life we are immersed today, Art and its storytelling character seem to be the medium where the most of us try to get answers to our questions. As Robert McKee says:
“Stories equip us for living”
Today we go to the cinema, or watch a movie at home to understand our story and ourselves. They make us experience alternative lives by proxy.
But stories are everywhere, not only in movies. They are in photography too, and they are in brands. What consumers are looking for today are brands that deliver meaning and not only products.
What is the story you are going to tell to engage your customers tomorrow?