A few years back, as I watched the world of marketing grow increasingly chaotic, I was struck by the notion that I was witnessing “the story wars”. Instead of fighting over who’s got the best product or service, the most successful brands fight over who gets to create the cultural stories we all live by. I was so taken with this idea, I wrote a book about it.
Since writing Winning the Story Wars, I’m constantly asked to point out where the latest skirmishes are breaking out. The question often comes in the form of a challenge: “Brands fighting for control of our stories? Come on, show me where it’s happening.”
Well, an overt and bizarre story war has just erupted between GM and Ford – and it’s generating a tremendous amount of buzz on both sides. From its layer upon layer of spoof humor to its genesis in a wholly unrelated viral video, this fight is a unique product of today’s media marketplace. But the underlying story of America these brands are wrestling over is a pure throwback to the era of Don Draper. Untangling the tale tells us much about where marketing – and our society – is heading.