If storytelling will be over “when the world is perfect” is true, advertisers would seem to have nothing to worry about. However, storytelling is everywhere and it’s very easy for consumers to avoid.

There is a parallel here to the 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. While there is a category for Brand Experience & Activation, there isn’t one for “branded” entertainment, notes Ari Halper, one of 20 judges in this year’s Entertainment category.

So Entertainment entries have to go “above and beyond what we typically considered to be entertaining content that was on behalf of a brand and rise to the level of entertainment at large,” the CCO of FCB New York explains in this interview with Beet.TV.

“We need to create experiences for people and content for people that rises to that level, that caliber of entertainment to the point where they want to engage with it regardless of knowing that it may be on behalf of a brand.”

Halper cites as an example work FCB is doing “with the top people at Xbox” to develop a video game for teenagers that “needs to be at the level of other video games that they play out there.” The goal is to make the game experience itself “organic to the message that we’re trying to get across to the teens.”

The same concept applies to long-form content and short films, “where the brand is while linked appropriately to what you’re bringing forth to the consumer is not so overtly mentioned to the point where the consumer repels from it because they feel like they’re being advertised to.”

Halper invokes FCB Global CCO Susan Credle’s 2017 Tweet about storytelling being over “when the world is perfect” in discussing the short attention span of consumers and their ability to “skip everything or fast forward through it on their DVR’s.” Thus the onus on great storytelling has never been higher “because it’s more pervasive than ever.”

Halper also believes “we need to tell fresher stories in new mediums.” Although lots of people equate film with television, the overwhelming majority of video content is online video. “Whether or not you’re telling a narrative in that space or whether you’re telling a narrative on the television doesn’t necessarily really matter.”

Like others in the advertising industry, Halper notes the limitations of creative versioning to achieve one-to-one messaging—one being manpower. This is where data and automation come into play.

“Knowing that there’s only twenty four hours in the day, it’s incredibly important to be able to tap into data to mine for this ability to reach people on this more customized basis, to have this versioning and make things more programmatic so that it’s automated.”

This video is part of The Road to Cannes, a preview of topics to be addressed at Cannes Lions. The series is presented by the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video. For more videos from the series, please visit this page. FreeWheel is a Comcast company.