The power of telling stories

Last night, Leonardo finally got his first Oscar. It reminds me of how sad and disappointed people were last time he missed the Oscar. Last year, when Julianne Moore finally won the best actress for her fourth nomination,  Leonardo said in an interview, “when am I going to win? I’ve had four nominations.” This interview was posted online. People were so moved by his eager eyes and “miserable” story.

ad_198215613.jpgThis year, the whole Internet put their focus on Leonardo  DiCaprio’s fifth Oscar battle. On SNS page, I see a lot of my friends posted their wishes for Leonardo. They stayed online waiting for the final announcement of the award. After it was finally announced that the best actor went to Leonardo  DiCaprio, not only Kate Winslet, who is his friend since Titanic, were excited; irrelevant people like us, were even more excited like we were the ones who won the Oscar.



Why do we have such emotional reactions towards a celebrity we do not personally know? Social psychologists Horton and Wohl (1956) hypothesized that  parasocial interaction is when audience members develop their one-sided relationships with the media being consumed as if they are engaged in reciprocal relationship with them and feel as they were real friends. One of the most important element in parasocial interaction is empathy. Fans like us feel as we can understand or feel what Leonardo is experiencing. We are so attach and close to him that we  are upset about his unfortunate and happy about his success.

However, compare to Leonardo  DiCaprio, Roger Deakins, a 70-ish cinematographer who was nominated 13 times for Ocsar best achievement in cinematography without wining once , were definitely more “miserable”. How come there were not too much people feeling sorry for him?

In my opinion, since we have been exposed to a lot more media content of Leonardo DiCaprio than content of Roger Deakins. Detailed stories about how dedicated and unfortunate Leonardo was told by media greatly triggered our emotion, which makes us feel psychologically more close to Leonardo, rather than Roger Deakins, who was not so intensively elaborated by media.

As mentioned in class, telling stories is a powerful tool. It can be a great tool for handling public relations crisis. Tang Wei, a Chinese movie star who started her career with a R-rated movie, was successfully glorified by stories of how did she use her wise to study and make living after being forced out of movie industry. Thanks to the brilliant media campaign, her public image now is pretty positive.

Have read a lot of stories of Leonardo, including his efforts, his misfortune and finally his success, people are unconsciously implanted with deep relationships and attachment with him. The same method can be applied on building customer loyalty and so on.

This entry was posted in Advertising campaigns, communication, entertainment, Social Media & Psychology. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The power of telling stories

  1. sydhavely says:

    Ria, this is a great and insightful post. Worthy of a professional blog. Extremely well done. Thank you. BTW, i now know why I don’t miss college dorm parties or wherever these kids were watching the Oscars.

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