I dig this Umbro campaign that pushes their New York Cosmos gear– the Cosmos Blackout Collection:

It uses rich storytelling-as-marketing, where former Cosmos player Carlos Alberto Torres talks about the day he signed with the Cosmos back in 1977. This was the same date as the infamous New York blackout. It’s history you can stand behind. It’s a story you can sink your teeth into via a short web video.

Rich storytelling through genuine narration.

You can feel Torres’ Mordor-esque quest through a blacked-out New York all the way to the Cosmos office where he would begin a very famous and successful time of his life. HIs mostly-monotone presentation contains the pacing and timbre of a man who’s seen the world over, yet can still access the nook of his mind where he holds such a memorable tale.

Out of this story, we can start to put together the connection and inspiration behind Umbro’s recent line and its rich history. Umbro didn’t need a lot out of Torres to enrich the story or the credibility of their line. They chose well– it’s like they got the believable swagger of Captain Morgan’s “most-interesting man,” without the fiction. All fact.

While the story is fantastic, that’s sort of where the content experience ends. It’s a bit abrupt. It does inspire a visit the Umbro site, and into their other content.

We don't care if you don't care.

There are plenty of articles about how we should all be creating “marketing that tells a story.” Yeah, that’s true. But sometimes, I don’t give a crap about how a particular soda came to be, or why your sausages are the best sausages. Not unless you can make it resonate with something inside me.

When Torres talks about walking up the stairs to the Cosmos’ office “like a sacrifice,” I immediately recalled times in my life where I’ve had to dig deep to get something that I really wanted.

You probably have a story like that, too.

I used to freelance for practically pennies, taking public transit and hoofing it from project to project.

I remembered the heat and the sore legs. I remembered the disrespect and the poor treatment–my own world of suffering. However, I wanted those projects badly– just as badly as Torres wanted to sign onboard with the Cosmos.

This resonance makes me care about his story. That’s the kind of storytelling-as-marketing we should be striving for. It’s the kind of entertainment that matters. As the line between content and entertainment blurs–blends even, attention to our audiences and making them actually care about what we’re saying or showing increasingly becomes oh-so-important.

Is it easy to do? Hell, no. If it’s easy, then it’s probably done wrong.