Storytelling and why content doesn't need a time limit - it just needs to be good.

Do you ever find yourself driving, arriving to your location and wondering, How did I get here? On everyday routes and boring trips, we can sometimes zone out behind the wheel and forget to actively think about driving. I’m sure this has happened to a large percentage of drivers – but has it ever happened to you on Youtube?

You know, where you find yourself deep in the rabbit hole only to realize you’ve lost an hour or two?

I could almost guarantee that some of you hop on Youtube or your favorite blog to check out a recent movie trailer or pop culture news article, and you end up watching a biography on George Clooney or a local news blooper reel (or something crazier). And just like in your car, you pause the video, close your laptop and ask yourself, How did I get there?

Perhaps that’s the power of YouTube, or the nature of the content, but either way, I wanted to discuss the power of storytelling. 

Good content knows no bounds. Whether it’s 30 seconds, three minutes, 12 minutes or 60 minutes. Virtual reality might be all the rage these days, but nothing will ever trump the power of storytelling and the fantastic, sweeping user experience it culminates.

What am I talking about exactly? Well…Guy Fieri of course…


This happened to me recently. I didn’t catch myself watching a random video though, I caught myself watching an advertisement *gasps from the crowd at home*. This wasn’t just any ad, this was a four minute spot from Miller Lite’s summer campaign featuring the one and only: Guy Fieri – The Grand Chancellor of Flavortown and described by Anthony Bourdain as “if Ed Hardy f**ked a juggalo” (not making this last part up).

Now, my family and friends know I love Guy Fieri – Triple D is always on in my house. However, I don’t drink Miller Lite and I probably won’t start anytime soon. So why was I so taken aback when I realized I watched the whole thing? I felt like I broke the “Da Vinci” code to today’s world of advertising and content.

Companies need to focus on creating compelling stories and experiences rather than content that fits in the everyday attention span. If a story is captivating enough for an audience, it doesn’t matter if it’s 15 seconds or 15 minutes. I don’t care about Miller Lite, but I’m more than willing to give Guy Fieri a couple minutes of my time.

Here’s a clear example: James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke. I’m sure everyone and their mother has watched one of these. Whether it’s with Justin Bieber, Adele, The First Lady or even Lin-Manuel Miranda (my personal favorite), these videos feature Late, Late Show host James Corden riding around in his car with special guests singing along to popular songs of past and present, and viewers LOVE it. Almost every installment of Carpool Karaoke has surpassed at least 20 million views on Youtube – even crazier: no video is less than 10 minutes. What?


It seems like the Late, Late Show team has cracked the code on compelling storytelling. They’ve created a bulletproof formula: find celeb + put them in car + have them sing relevant / funny songs + throw an ad in front of the video = tens of millions of views, tons of press and impressions, brand awareness.

ALSO: See Michelle Obama’s #62MillionGirls campaign and the work Inphantry produced for it. 

And you best believe celebs and networks use this series for their own agendas. With Lin-Manuel Miranda and co., CBS used Carpool Karaoke as an opportunity to spread word on the upcoming Tony Awards. Michelle Obama had a lot to say about her recent Snapchat launch and Let Girls Learn campaign. You get the idea – Carpool Karaoke is a win-win for everyone.

The biggest takeaway is that when you have a compelling experience or story to share, you don’t have to worry about the details. Rock fans may not care about Carpool Karaoke with One Direction, but they’ll probably love it with Red Hot Chili Peppers. Who cares if the content is over ten minutes long? Fans will eat up every second. Granted big names equal big budgets, but the underlying theme is the perfect content recipe, and experiential campaigns need to take a lesson from Carpool Karaoke. 

Here at Inphantry, our job is to create compelling experiences and tell stories. Sure we love technology, but if it isn’t what’s best to bring an experience to life, we don’t use it. We won’t pitch it, we won’t ideate on it, we’ll move on because the best user experiences follow the perfect content recipe solution…you need to feed your audience what they are hungry for.

Some of our best experiences have taken a whole day to soak in, not just a quick video on your Facebook timeline. Captivating stories hold their own, time and time again.

Now back to my petition to get Guy Fieri on Carpool Karaoke….can you imagine?

If you have a question about user experience, or want to get to know Inphantry better, then please email us at: and check out our previous list of clients and work here.

As always, follow me on Twitter @Ninjaman173 and of course @INPHANTRY or give me a shout at: with questions, concerns or comments.