Storytelling Secrets of the Stars: Do The Twist

Toilet Humor from Down Under (Droga5)

“David Whittaker,” a great new video from Fiona  McGee  is one of the best stories I’ve seen in a while. It’s a short film/documentary about a an Australian body builder  and the incredible dedication that he (and his fiancee) share for the sport.

Watch it first, then let’s talk below. And watch out for the incredibly clever twist towards the end.

What I didn’t mention is that the film’s actually a promotional video for Aussie agency Droga5‘s client, Domestos Toilet Cleaner. How about that twist, eh? Not bad. I love that McGee created a compelling, engaging story about cleaning toilets and then made the story even more memorable by throwing in a cool twist.

The twist, when used well, can turn a good narrative experience into a great one. It’s the literary equivalent on biting into a cupcake and finding it filled with bacon and tiny cupcakes, each one further filled with mini-bacon and even tinier cupcakes. However, it can also be a giant middle finger to the audience when used poorly, I’m looking at you, dream-sequence-filled daytime soap operas!

But failure’s no reason not to try? Think of any great plot twist. After the book/movie was over, what did you do? You analyzed every line and image for a hidden subtext and searched for any kind of proof to reconcile the change. When you do that in advertising, you encourage the audience to do the same thing for your ad. You increase the number of impressions and connection points in an emotional way. I mean, think about it. Would I be writing about a toilet cleaner commercial if it didn’t do more than just tell a story?

Obviously plot twists work. They delight people and enrich their experiences in books, films and other forms of storytelling media. That’s why Hollywood keeps cramming them down our throats. And that’s why next time you start to write a brief, script or create some kind of storytelling, you should ask yourself, “how could I surprise and delight my audience even more?”

It doesn’t have to be a plot twist per se, but I think if you approach storytelling with that mentality, you can’t go wrong. Unless of course, your “twist” is six back-to-back dream sequences in 5 minutes.


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