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Jaws, The Wizard of Oz, The Trojan War & The Great Motif of a Great Marketing Story

So what do big teeth, a yellow brick road, and a huge hollow wooden horse have in common? We'll get to that in a minute.

Last time we spoke about the power of storytelling for your content creation strategy and that narrative is a basic organizing principle of memory. Indeed, telling a story vs. reading off bullet point after bullet point, will more likely get your readers to remember your message.

This time around, I’d like to take a look what is the blueprint of a marketing story that will resonate with your readers.

If we look at some of the most memorable stories of all time – such as Homer’s Iliad, that tells the tale of the famous Trojan War, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Wizard of Oz; or we look at some of the most successful movies of all time – such as Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Arc, or The Wizard of Oz – they are all basically the same story.

According to John Yorke, BBC TV writer and producer and author of several books, including Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them – all these stories are about “the journey into the woods to find the dark but life-giving secret within.” All these stories are the same.

It's about your ordinary person who is presented with a huge challenge, must overcome fear to "fight the dragon" (or the Trojan Horse, or the big bad wolf, or the great white shark . . . ), and does so successfully to the adulation of his or her village folk.

This motif is not just for fairytales and Hollywood blockbusters. It is also the motif of a great marketing message. Namely:


the journey* into the woods to find the dark** but life-giving secret*** within


the decision to invest* in a product that disturbs the status-quo** but which

will solve a real pain with great savings and glory*** to the prospect

So next time you want to create some content about your product, service, or company – remember your hero (persona), his or her Great White, and follow the yellow brick road.

Coming up next time – how to structure a great marketing story line.

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