Hello friend,

If you just subscribed to this letter after seeing it in Josh Spector's list, welcome.

Talking about yourself is lame, but here's what you need to know:
πŸ‘‹ I'm Gianluca, a filmmaker and creative consultant from Italy living in Los Angeles.
πŸ’‘Every week I select content and ideas to help you stand out, stay inspired and sharpen your perspective as a digital citizen.

Today's finds include why data without trust has no value, a time machine for music, 7 story ideas for brands, 5 ads about products without showcasing them, why memes are helping us get through the pandemic, and some insights from 75 years of US advertising.


🎡 Disclosure dropped a new captivating music video inspired by "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex"

πŸ“Ί Since the Cannes Lions (aka the Oscars for advertising) are on hold for a year, Ad Age made its best guesses at the ads that could have won

πŸ““ A great piece from Seth Godin to explain why data without trust has no value

🏠 An epic and honest commercial about mobile homes

πŸ“Ό Video playlists from the most interesting people in the creative industries

πŸŽ™ Pick a year from the past and this time machine for music will link you to videos of the top Billboard Hits of that time

πŸ“Έ This Tokyo-based photographer's work will make you want to go to Japan immediately


Not sure what's the best type of story for your brand?
I made an Instagram post about the 7 type of stories and what they're used for.⁣⁣

If you'd like to get help or ideas about how to use storytelling in your business, just reply to this email.

Click on the Image

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Making an ad about a product without showcasing it

5 minutes | Filmsupply

  • When it comes to content, general agency wisdom says that in order for a commercial to be effective, the product has to be shown within the first three seconds.
  • As content becomes a bigger part of brand identity, ads that focus on story and concept tend to be the most impactful and memorable.

Some examples:

  • Sonnet Insurance: creating content to highlight something completely intangible is clearly a challenge. Solution: leveraging something viewers can feel - optimism.
  • The Atlantic: Michael K. Williams stars as himself (and himself and himself and himself) in an ad that explores the ever-complicated world of diversity in Hollywood and in our society.
  • Kenzo: a surrealist short film depicts a young woman’s trip down a radical rabbit hole. The fragrance isn’t really what they’re selling. They’re selling the idea that a woman can be unapologetically chaotic and beautiful on her own chest-beating terms.
  • The New York Times: this brilliant ad reflects on what the NYT really sells, which isn't newspapers. They opted to take the focus off of the words and put it on what those words are providing β€” the truth.
  • Budweiser: they leveraged something truly authentic to their brand β€” their origin story β€” in this period piece focused on their ambitious immigrant cofounder’s humble beginnings.

πŸ‘‰ Read the article

COVID Memes: Why we’re using laughter to get us through a pandemic

17 minutes | Copyhackers

The longer this pandemic lasts, the more memes people seem to create. Why are we resorting to memes during a time of crisis (and as people are dying)? And why are they so damn funny?

  • A meme is a representation of a phenomenon or concept that is repeatedly imitated and mutated ad infinitum.
  • The internet of the 21st century is driven by a β€œparticipatory culture,” one in which audiences are no longer being fed pop culture, but arguably creating it themselves. And memes are one way we’re doing that.
  • By creating and sharing things that make us laugh, we can reduce negativity or regulate our negative emotional states to adapt.
  • As award-winning filmmaker Anthony McCarten puts it,
    β€œThe forces of seriousness would limit us to narrow thinking, rigid ideology, cruelty and tunnel vision. Whereas humor obliges us to have an open mind, it obliges empathy and forgiveness.”
  • The act of sharing memes makes us feel like we've had a social interaction, even if we weren’t laughing out loud in person.
  • The other power of memes is that not everyone understands the joke. Understanding a meme makes you feel like you’re part of a certain community.
  • Memes and humor are giving us the ability to bond as a community, no matter where in the world we are.

πŸ‘‰ Read the article

75 years of US advertising

7 minutes | Benedict Evans

Benedict Evans recently published an excellent article on the history of advertising. Some takeaways:

  • Advertising share of GDP started sliding immediately after the Dotcom bubble, had a major step down in the financial crisis and has been suspiciously flat ever since. That decline was very obviously concentrated in print but actually affected TV and radio as well.
  • People often think that all the money went from newspapers to internet. In reality, most money spent on Google and Facebook is money that was never spent on traditional advertising - it’s coming from SMEs and local businesses that might have spent in classified at most but probably wouldn’t have done even that.
  • One chart from Google Trends shows that people are decreasingly searching for the cheapest items and increasingly searching for the best ones. β€œThe internet moving up the β€˜funnel’ β€” it moves from utility price comparison to recommendation and authority."

πŸ‘‰ Read the article

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Stay classy,
- Gian

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P.S. I got some of this week's ideas from Ungated, Monday Musings, and Kevan Lee.

"Who the hell are you?"
I'm Gianluca, an Italian filmmaker based in Los Angeles. A while back you opted into my email list through my website Storyforma. I like to send out genuinely useful content about working and living as a creative in the digital age.

"I have a project in mind, are you available to chat?"
Of course. You can just reply to this email or schedule a call with me here.

"Is there a place to discuss this stuff and connect with other creators?"
I'm starting a Facebook group, feel free to join us: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ThroughTheNoise/