Find a simple story to tell
Plan your Next #101
👋 Good morning from Mequon, Wisconsin! I'm Nate Kadlac, and this is #101 of Plan Your Next. A Sunday newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.
💡 What’s new?
🖤 Thanks to everyone who replied last week with testimonials, heartfelt love, and shared stories of loss.
💻 The Approachable Design workshop was highlighted on OnePageLove. I’m really excited about this because Rob Hope has such fine taste. 😉
📕 Reading Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room. I’m only 20% through it, but it’s hard to put it down. Fun fact: The company spent $100k to rebrand itself from HNG/InterNorth Inc. to Enteron. Except Enteron is too close to the definition of an intestine, so they shortened it to Enron. H/T to Stew for constantly recommending it.
📺 Watching The Dropout (On Hulu). It’s the story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos. This series is based on the podcast of the same name, starring Amanda Seyfried. H/T to my friend Jason for recommending it.
It’s widely accepted that good advertising started in the ‘60s. Before then, you had commercials like this, listing feature after feature. Are you a car company releasing a new model that’s longer than the last? Talk about how much longer it is!
Then in the ’60s, everything changed with this ad dubbed, Snow Plow, by Volkswagon.
It starts with an idea and some empty space. A single powerful idea.
How does a man who drives a snowplow, drive to the snowplow?
Not only did companies make a simple claim, but you started to see ads talk about a product within the context of a story.
And then many started to have fun with it.
This American Motors commercial describes how durable their cars are, by making the claim their cars will outlast the teachers.
I came across this great presentation by creative director and author, Dave Trott, on the history of advertising. He focuses on the point at a time when there were constraints on production, without the ability for CGI or special effects.
The best ideas always were always communicated simply. And because of the creative constraints, you couldn’t stand out just by listing feature after feature.
Enjoy some of these decades-old commercials, in which many used a simple idea and humor to sell a product.
Cockburns Special Reserve
Hefty garbage bags
Mr. W — I can’t give this one away without ruining the ad
A TV channel promoting they have the best stories
And lastly, when Volkswagon decided to retire the Beetle, they created a “funeral” for it.
You can watch the full 40-minute video here.
⚡️ Two creative hits for you to check out next
📍 Telling a more complete story with design
The NY Times has slowly been revising the style of their maps to show how the Ukraine military is preventing Russia from advancing. This goes to show how thoughtful design can represent a story in a more complete way.
👨💻 A new tool for storytelling. While still in public beta, this looks like a combination of Figma and Pitch.com for interactive slide decks. I love the idea that it’s built for mobile at the outset.
👋 See you next Sunday
Have a great week,
p.s. If you enjoyed this letter, would you please let me know by tapping on the heart below?