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Digital Storytelling | Unlocking The Key Elements to Effective Ads

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Abstract

My thesis aims to uncover the ultimate strategy behind short form visual stories, otherwise known as the digital advertisment. In this thesis, I analyze traditional storytelling, visual storytelling, and short-form visual storytelling in order to uncover the best practices advertisers

Abstract

My thesis aims to uncover the ultimate strategy behind short form visual stories, otherwise known as the digital advertisment. In this thesis, I analyze traditional storytelling, visual storytelling, and short-form visual storytelling in order to uncover the best practices advertisers should use when crafting a digital advertisement. 

Storytelling “reveals elements and images of a story while also catalyzing the imagination of the listener” (National Storytelling Network, 2017).  This tradition has two purposes for society: a neurological structure, and a social mechanism (for historic preservation, human interaction, and a vehicle for connecting with others) (Gottshcall, 2012; Scott, 2012; Paul, 2012; Woodside, 2008). 

Visual Storytelling is “using photography, illustration, video, (usually with a musical enhancement) to guide” the human brain along a plotline, and has an unlimited timeframe (Ron, 2017). There are seven key elements to effective visual storytelling: A listener/audience, an element of realism coupled with escapism, a focus on the dread of life, an element of the unknown, emotion, simplicity, and a three-part plot structure (Andrews, 2010; ProQuest, 2012; Zak, 2014; Stanton, 2014; Reagan, 2016; Jarvis, 2014; Petrick, 2014)

In the words of Sholmi Ron, from a marketing perspective, “Visual [short hand] Storytelling is a marketing strategy that communicates powerful ideas through a compelling story arc, with your customer at the heart of the story, and delivered through interactive and immersive visual media – in order to create profitable customer engagements" (Ron, 2017). This advertising strategy has four best practices: non-obvious logo placement, a comedic emotion, multiple emotional arcs, and a relevant message (Golan, 2017; Teixeira, 2015; Graves, 2017, Teixeira, 2017). These are important to understand because, in 2017, online consumers can be described as skeptical, conscious of content, individualistic, and drawn to authenticity (Teixeira, 2014). 

To supplement my findings, I conducted primary research by analyzing the 2017 Super Bowl videos against a criteria created using the best practices previously identified (in Part 1 and Part 2). Through the data collection of the 66 videos, I uncovered the most popular plotline is "fall than rise," the most popular emotions are humor, inspiration, and empathy and people tend to have a preference towards videos that are more realistic and simplistic in nature. 

In the end, I recommend that advertisers identify an authentic yet relevant message, while employing a comedic, inspirational, or empathic tone, and that they place their ads exclusively for their target market. Additionally, producers should use a fall then rise plotline (with multiple mini plot peaks and valleys), a "logo-pulsing" strategy, and a minimal amount of characters and settings to keep the audience's focus on the ad’s message.

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2017-05

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Hope and Dreams: Insight into Autism Art Benefit Exhibition

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Abstract Hope and Dreams: Insight into Autism Art Benefit Exhibition Megan H. Tollefson Hope and Dreams: Insight into Autism was a social outreach project benefiting autism research in the Phoenix Valley via an art exhibition. Autism is a widely discussed

Abstract Hope and Dreams: Insight into Autism Art Benefit Exhibition Megan H. Tollefson Hope and Dreams: Insight into Autism was a social outreach project benefiting autism research in the Phoenix Valley via an art exhibition. Autism is a widely discussed disorder that affects more than 1.5 million people in the United States. It has had a significant personal impact on my life, as I have two cousins with the disorder, as well as o the lives of millions of others. The project aimed to educate the public on autism, support families dealing with the disorder, and raise funds for essential research to better understand, treat, and prevent autism. The variety of paintings in the exhibition was meant to be representative of the many facets of autism while inspiring hope for viewers. The project also intended to advocate the arts as a viable method for communicating for collective community pulse in the face of increasing autism prevalence. The project process hoped to speak as a visual, social and most importantly, a human commentary on the current state of autism in America. My artwork was selected as the winner for the Sally A. McKenna memorial exhibition for spring 2008, and the exhibition took place in the Step Gallery in the heart of Tempe. The paintings I created and the marketing for the event allowed me to create a meaningful thesis project and combine my interest in business and the arts. I was also able to donate several thousand dollars and one of the paintings to the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center.

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2008-05

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Westward Ho: Reinventing Classic Appeal

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The Westward Ho is a historical landmark of Phoenix. Once an architectural experimental design redefining luxury accommodations in the 1920s, the Westward Ho attracted former Hollywood icons and political leaders for several decades until it closed its doors in the

The Westward Ho is a historical landmark of Phoenix. Once an architectural experimental design redefining luxury accommodations in the 1920s, the Westward Ho attracted former Hollywood icons and political leaders for several decades until it closed its doors in the early 1970s. Now categorized as a low income subsidized living residence, many diverse yet high-risk groups of people currently call the establishment "home." While considered home to most, a Needs and Assets Assessment survey conducted by Arizona State University students and professionals exposed that the residents feel disconnected from each other as well as from the external greater Phoenix community. From the survey, it was discovered that 50% of interviewees have been clinically diagnosed with a mental illness and 50% have less than two friendly contacts outside the Westward Ho. Their health and social needs are not being met by the current conditions and operations of the Westward Ho. Results like these as well as other in-depth research of the city of Phoenix including demographics and local business feedback provided a supportive framework for the development of the recommendations. Two recommendations were proposed using a business model framework in order to describe a rationale for generating value to the consumers. One recommendation suggested renovating the Westward Ho in order to become a boutique hotel, which would attract consumers locally and nationally. While an opportunity to attract new interests to the city of Phoenix, it would be a great investment that could be adversely unfavorable to the residents considering their physical and mental vulnerabilities. Another recommendation is to use a currently unused but visually ornate room (Kachina Lounge) in the Westward Ho to start a community center. No other space in Phoenix competes with its historical charm and uniqueness. After conducting a cost/benefit analysis, the community center creates, delivers and captures the most value with less risk. The residents have the ability to build an internal community by working together to handle low skill operations of the community center, and the Phoenix community has the opportunity to breach the once unfamiliar doors of the Westward Ho. With community and city council support, the Westward Ho could become a center for social change while awaking cultural awareness.

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2013-05