Are You Brave Enough To Be A Storytelling Villain?

We're in the age of storytelling, where brands need to be meaningful as they weave a narrative around what it is they do and how they understand their users' lives -- which they, of course, seamlessly fit into. As any writer knows, the thing about storytelling is that you need characters, and as every movie fan knows, that means for every goodie you need a baddie.

This is where Protein World is fitting in so perfectly in the health and fitness sector. I have no idea how effective its formula is for giving users the "beach ready" body behind the slogan that kicked up such a social media storm last year. Like everyone else across the country, though, it's probably the one fitness supplement provider I can name off the top of my head. The reason? All that controversy, of course.

Just take a look at the social "chat" levels in the sector published by Marketing and you'll see that pretty much two in three conversations are about Protein World. The article coveys a rumour that since the furor caused a few months ago over "that" ad which asked Tube users if their bodies are "beach ready," sales are up by two million pounds.

The brand has also secured sponsorship of Geordie Shore -- which has to be their ideal market, you'd have to imagine. For those who haven't watched the show, young, beautiful people who speak in barely legible strong Geordie accents get drunk, sleep with each other and then cry on each other's shoulders about getting drunk and sleeping with each other. Totally missable tv, but for many it's addictive.

There's the old saying that no publicity is bad publicity. I'm not sure I always agree with the finer point of the argument all the time. I think Tiger Woods, for example, may not have found that a five iron rammed through his car's window by the wife he was cheating on was far from a great day in the office. However, it can sometimes work out. I sniggered out loud this weekend on hearing that after Piers Morgan was being targeted by women who were angry at comments he made about Susan Sarandon's cleavage. His punishment was for women across the globe to inundate his Twitter feed with revealing cleavage shots. To be honest, I'm not sure Piers is going to see that one as the worst form of protest possible.

It's the same for Protein World. A part of me, I have to say, is in awe of the way it is happy to just keep on going and use the energy of campaigners to propel it to public enemy number one status. It's a position that just keeps sending sales skyward. The thing that protesters probably didn't realise is that the sort of person who is focussed on getting slim for the beach to the point where they're willing to buy buckets of supplements cannot have a better recommendation than a brand that has annoyed what they may label the politically correct brigade.

Brands are being told to be bold, to be brave and to go out there and have a purpose they can convey through storytelling. Nearly all will strive to be the hero in the story, but that can be a little repetitive. Can you think of a brand doing a better job of being the villain? I'm racking my brain and I can't.

Lots of noise from people who would never have bought the supplement in the first place only underscores how Protein World is all about the "no carbs before Marbs" crew who think first and foremost about their figure.

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