Can 10 Second Snippets Make a Good Story?

Today is day 3 of our Super Bowl commercial breakdown (catch up on episodes one and two if you missed ‘em).

I decided we’d look at a few commercials that led into surprise endings quite well, despite being mysterious at first. When clues are placed along the way, fiction writers call it “foreshadowing,” and that’s what these commercials do. When you get to the end, everything makes sense, on some level.

For this first bunch, it took me until number two or three to figure it out. These commercials were like snapshots—ten seconds or so of things like a pile of something on fire. Or people running from something. There was one with a police car upside-down with a Union Jack (the British flag) on its doors.

And at the end of each commercial there was a strange, rhythmic beeping. Once, maybe twice, and that was it.

It’s only in the last commercial that we see Jack Bauer leading Chloe O’Brien away from a wreck or explosion. We see him shooting, and then see the date of the new 24 mini-series: May 5, 2014.

I love 24. And I really liked how these “teaser” clips were put together to make it so that people were going, “Oh, yeah” and not “Huh?”

And it makes me wonder why all that stuff in the commercials was happening. That’s intrigue and curiousity working together.

The other commercials I wanted to mention today were the Bud Light commercials with Ian, “the guy who doesn’t know he’s in a Super Bowl commercial.” This series only had two parts—one where he was picked up in a limo, and the other where he ran into the twin of a woman he met, played ping-pong with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and got to see One Republic up close.

These two commercials had a “hey, cool!” factor to ‘em. After all, who wouldn’t want to ride in a limo with a DJ inside, meet beautiful women, and hang out with a band?

We all would, to some degree. Which fires up the imagination (another super important tool to every fiction writer, for themselves, as well as their readers).

And if you’re a copywriter, that doesn’t mean you can use tools like imagination and intrigue.

It means you have to.

That’s one of the realizations that inspired me to start this blog. Different types of writing, like fiction and copywriting, have a similar objective, actually: to persuade. For fiction, that means introducing people to characters and settings that before you wrote it never existed.

Think about it.

You can make whole worlds with only a keyboard and monitor, or paper and pen.

And for copywriting, your goal is to persuade folks to take action on something—take a look at a page, sign up for weekly tips, what-have-ya.

And to answer the question that kicked off this post, yes, 10 second snippets can make a good story on TV. Just like flash fiction, or an email—done right.

Well, that’s it for today. Last post of our Super Bowl series tomorrow. And I’ll tell you about a short guy who wouldn’t give up.

Until next time,



About Ty Mall

Thanks for stopping by. I've almost always been interested in writing, among other things. Along with discovering pop culture, I've uncovered a lot about the craft over the past 10 years. And whether you're a fiction writer or email copywriter, I'm here to pass on what I've found out. And have a ton of fun in the process.
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2 Responses to Can 10 Second Snippets Make a Good Story?

  1. Pingback: How Jack Bauer Can Improve Your Writing | Fiction and Copy Decoded

  2. Pingback: Back After A Long (Unplanned) Internet Hiatus… | Fiction and Copy Decoded

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