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What’s the difference between traditional and emerging story arcs?

The traditional story arc builds slowly to a climax and brands at the end, whereas the emerging story arc starts off high and has unexpected shifts to keep viewers watching. This is the difference between an emerging story arc and a traditional story arc.

  • The traditional story arc brands right away and ends with a climax, whereas the emerging story arc starts low and unexpectedly shifts to the climax right away.
  • The traditional story arc starts low and unexpectedly shifts to the climax right away, whereas the emerging story arc brands right away and ends with a climax.
  • The traditional story arc builds slowly to a climax and brands at the end, whereas the emerging story arc starts off high and has unexpected shifts to keep viewers watching.
  • The traditional story arc starts off high and has unexpected shifts to keep viewers watching, whereas the emerging story arc builds slowly to a climax and brands at the end.

The correct answer is: The traditional story arc builds slowly to a climax and brands at the end, whereas the emerging story arc starts off high and has unexpected shifts to keep viewers watching.

Traditional story arc – The well-established narrative, familiar to advertisers building creative for TV: A lead in, a build, a climax, and a reveal, followed by offers and branding.

Emerging story arc – The heartbeat narrative structure, much more effective for creating ads for YouTube: A strong cue followed by multiple peaks, unexpected shifts and brand cues throughout

In Google’s creative effectiveness research, It was found that using an emerging story arc, rather than a traditional one, helps hook viewers in an ad’s opening moments. Another way of thinking about this is the ad’s climax: Do you have to wait until the 15th second to get there?

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