Story in Commercials Project (PBL)

Commercial Showcase

PBL Driving Question

  • How is story used to convince people to buy products or take action on behalf of a specific cause?

Project Description

  • Students are to design a commercial with a story in it that advertises either a product (includes a brand, food chain, etc.), a cause  or  has an inspirational message that promotes a specific value - The best way to learn about these types of commercials is to see a few in action and to analyze the story line, the ending message and the unexpectedness. See the Joe Greene Coke commercial script for an example of a commercial script.

Commercial Script Expectations

  • Commercial either (a) sells a product, brand or food chain (real or imagined) OR (b) promotes a cause (convincing people to act or do something) OR (c) inspires people to live out a certain value (i.e.: Honesty, Respect, etc.)
  • Commercial has a clear story line (with story elements such as setting, conflict, resolution, & theme) - can have dialogue or no dialogue
  • Story line has some kind of "unexpectedness" or twist - this is an element of surprise for the audience
  • It is written as a script (or a play)
  • Script has directions for the camera operator - italics recommended - cut to the child's face
  • Script has directions for the actors - italics recommended - leaning against the car
  • Script tells the actors the emotions/actions used to express their lines (i.e.: excitedly) - use parenthesis to separate the emotions or directions from the actual lines the actors are to say
  • Script has directions about music (cue music) and special effects (cue sound of fireworks cracking in the air)
  • Props used in commercial are well-chosen and are prepared before the filming of the commercial. 
  • Commercial has a clear, compact and memorable core message, at the end, that captures what the audience is to think, do or buy

Commercial Resources

Compact, Memorable Core Message

  • a one-sentence statement that is simple, memorable, and yet profound, capturing an experience, effectiveness or call to action for a product or cause.  

Examples of core messages in commercials:
  • Disney - "The Happiest Place on Earth"
  • BMW - "The Ultimate Driving Machine"
  • VISA - "It's Where You Want to Be"
  • KFC - "Finger-Lickin' Good"
  • Bounty - "The Quicker Picker-Upper"
  • Pantene - "You Can Shine"

Tools for Creating a Story that Sticks in Persuasive Advertisement

Analyze these Commercials for the Way its Story Moves You

Sample Script PDFJoe Greene Coke Commercial Script (1979) or script
Compact, Core Message: Have a Coke and a Smile - Coke Adds Life 

YouTube Video

Compact, Core Message: The New Nexus 7 - Made for What Matters

Compact, Core Message: Embrace Life - Buckle Up, Always Wear Your Seatbelt

Compact, Core Message: NIKE - Let's Give Them Five Years Back

Compact, Core Message: TEACH - You'll Be Amazed at the Difference You Can Make

Compact, Core Message: Thai Insurance Company - Believe in Good

  Compact, Core Message: IKEA: Your Stuff has No Feelings and the New One is Much Better

Compact, Core Message: Nissan - Inovation for the Planet, Innovation for All

Compact, Core Message: Pantene - You Can Shine

Compact, Core Message: Family is Forever