Storytelling at Its Best: Henry the Snowflake



Frankly, being both a musician and a ski enthusiast, I might be a bit biased, but DPS’s newest campaign “Snowflake" constitutes a remarkable example of best practices on how to use storytelling to excite potential customers and on how to effectively implement this with the power of music. The Utah producer of highly advanced freeride skis has been forced to build on innovative and less costly marketing campaign ever since it was founded by Stephan Drake in 2005. For example, each year they launch dreamtime, a highly emotional campaign that not only helps the company to implement their premium pricing strategy, but also makes their advertising very efficient due to the fact that they own the market during this season.

Its latest campaign “Snowflake” now is a masterpiece of storytelling. Broadcasted in Engelberg, Switzerland, they portray Henry - the Snowflake - a Swiss native, and let him tell the audience his "his"tory of freeride skiing and mountaineering. His gear is super old and he is purely dressed in white to, as he says, be unified with the beautiful nature. 

So why is this approach successful then? It becomes apparent that his passion for skiing is absolutely authentic. Being key to storytelling, his authenticity and passion for skiing make it easy for the audience to immerse into his world of storytelling and to become an integral part of his stories, a mechanism that is called self-referencing in consumer research (e.g., Escalas 2007). It is not only his passion and authenticity that make this campaign successful. When telling the audience about the beginnings of skiing, Henry also assumes the role of a shaman, another successful means in storytelling. Furthermore, as successful storytellers should do (e.g., Booker 2005), the campaign exploits one of the seven basic plots in theater, comedy, and consistently uses it throughout the whole video.

Last, but not least, it is the music that brings the story to life. While Henry sounds like a rapper when he is telling the story, the background music, starting in pianissimo and adagio becomes louder and faster as the stories progress. But please check it out yourself, of course :-)