We didn't do this to be hipster chic or anything like that, but we gave up television a few years ago. Well, we gave up our satelite dish anyway and the normal tv that goes with it. We have tv through our Xbox via Hulu+ and Netflix. Which means unless we go to some else's house we don't watch the Superbowl or anything else pop culturally relevant while it is happening.
There are advantages and disadvantages to living this way, but this isn't so much a post about any of that per se. It's more about how you can waste a morning. Hulu+ has a channel called Adzone. The sole purpose of this channel is to show the commercials aired during the Superbowl. Seriously, even dorks like me need to have the full Superbowl commercial experience.
I spent about an hour this morning sifting through commercials. Some were good some were meh. The crazy thing to think about though, is the amount of money that went into these commercials. Not merely the cost to air a 30 second spot during the game but also the cost of the full production of these commercials.
We are looking at anywhere between 30 seconds to 2 minutes with a production cost of a major movie. All just so they can get their ideas in front of a massive section of the consumer population. Two of the standouts of the commercials the Budweiser Clydsdales and the Paul Harvey Dodge are story driven and their message of course is less about the product than it is about drawing in your emotions. From a technical stand point commercials along these lines are great for capturing the consumers emotions. From a selling stand point once you have the consumer's heart strings the sale is made.
When we write, it is our hope to have this affect on the reader. Maybe once in a while it would be nice to have this affect at the Superbowl level, but we don't always have opportunities like this. This isn't to say that we should be writing ad copy (though nothing wrong with that, ya got bills yo). But the reality is, if what you are writing doesn't have the effect of capturing the heart of your reader you will not draw your reader into your world.
This is why we need to spend time reading and even watching different stories. You need that emotional base so you can bring it into your own writing. Not by copying what others write but by owning those feelings so you can share them with others.