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To know just how much things have changed, let’s go back in time. Not too far back, just to my 18th birth­day in Am­man, Jor­dan in 1993. I lived on a planet where I had ac­cess to two TV chan­nels, one English ra­dio sta­tion, and one English-lan­guage news­pa­per.

Now imag­ine try­ing to ex­plain to 18-year-old me the planet we live on to­day. A planet where ev­ery per­son is walk­ing around (and usu­ally ig­nor­ing each other) with a piece of glass and metal in the palm of their hand that weighs less than 200 grams.

Through this piece of glass, you can ac­cess ev­ery film ever made, ev­ery book ever writ­ten, ev­ery piece of mu­sic ever per­formed, and ev­ery news ar­ti­cle ever pub­lished, any­time you want to. And most of it is avail­able for free.

Not only that, you can see and hear ev­ery other per­son in the world any­time you want to. You can buy almost any­thing you want, or you can or­der your food. You can see ev­ery inch of the Earth, and ev­ery star in the sky. You can seek out your fu­ture hus­band, or ap­ply for a job, through this piece of glass.

It seems that this lit­tle piece of glass has changed ev­ery­thing in the way th­ese peo­ple live on this planet.

An 18-year-old to­day – who sits in the heart of Gen­er­a­tion Y – the next gen­er­a­tion of con­sumers born in the 1980s and 1990s, lives on a dif­fer­ent More than half of the GCC’s pop­u­la­tion is un­der 25. 87,000 pos­si­ble com­bi­na­tions of drinks avail­able at Star­bucks. ex­pects the level of per­son­al­i­sa­tion and ser­vice that Ama­zon of­fers in ev­ery as­pect of their lives. any ques­tion or need, whether per­sonal, pro­fes­sional, com­mer­cial, or so­cial, can be found through the end­less dig­i­tal con­tent avail­able to them. If the so­lu­tion isn’t there, they’ll in­vent it (wit­ness Uber or Airbnb). ac­cesses Face­book 14 times a day on av­er­age, ex­pect­ing a com­pletely per­son­alised ex­pe­ri­ence. With the choice to opt out of ever see­ing a brand’s ad­ver­tis­ing again. To speak to 18-year-old me, all you had to do to cap­ture my at­ten­tion was show me the best thing avail­able on two chan­nels. To speak to this gen­er­a­tion, you don’t need to of­fer them the best thing avail­able across two chan­nels, or one thou­sand chan­nels, or one mil­lion web­sites. You need to of­fer them the best thing they have ever seen

Sounds pretty daunt­ing, doesn’t? You see, ev­ery­thing has changed.

And yet… The word “ad­ver­tis­ing” comes from the Latin “ad vert­ere” which means “to turn to­ward”. Cap­tur­ing some­one’s at­ten­tion – to “turn them to­wards” our mes­sage – has been the guid­ing prin­ci­ple of our in­dus­try for the last 150 years. And at the heart of this pur­suit has been sto­ry­telling.

Through­out hu­man his­tory, sto­ry­telling has ex­isted at the heart of our civil­i­sa­tion. Sto­ries are how we ed­u­cate, en­ter­tain and en­lighten each other, and the best sto­ries can en­dure for­ever – pass­ing through gen­er­a­tions and across mil­len­nia. Sto­ry­telling works be­cause it al­lows the lis­tener to cre­ate ra­tio­nal and emo­tional con­nec­tions be­tween cause and ef­fect, and to in­ter­nalise lessons in the most im­pact­ful way.

While the struc­ture of the sto­ries we tell has stayed re­mark­ably the same through­out the ages, the way in which we tell sto­ries never stops chang­ing. Though some may seem quaint now, ev­ery evo­lu­tion in me­dia and tech­nol­ogy has taken hold largely through its abil­ity to tell sto­ries ef­fec­tively for a new au­di­ence. From the Ro­man am­phithe­ater to the print­ing press, from colour tele­vi­sion to the in­ter­net, ev­ery shift in com­mu­ni­ca­tion has ush­ered in bet­ter meth­ods of sto­ry­telling.

In this new world of un­lim­ited con­tent, chan­nels and in­ter­ac­tiv­ity, the story has changed. As the amount of noise – mar­ket­ing mes­sages, end­lessly avail­able con­tent – in­creases, con­vinc­ing our au­di­ence to “turn to­wards” us has never been harder.

How­ever, in to­day’s world of end­less in­for­ma­tion and noise, our au­di­ence is more sus­cep­ti­ble to great sto­ries than ever be­fore, be­cause

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