We are self-admitted DVR addicts. We don’t like watching programs live because that means having to watch commercials. But occasionally – especially during football season – we will make exceptions. Recently we saw an ad that changed everything. Advertisers have been using television spots to tell stories around their products for decades. For a field that’s been around so long, we couldn’t believe how many brands are continuing to push the video format forward with interesting, innovative ways to engage viewers and create emotion around their brand.

Here are some ways that ads can have a particularly strong impact. This list is hardly exhaustive, but points to a few ways that advertisers have built on the now-widespread sentiment that storytelling offers a powerful way to reach potential customers. Many of these ads have had such enormous success that they’re reaching massive audiences via viral video circulation; advertisers don’t even have to pay to air them in order to reach bigger audiences.

A recent Guinness spot featuring a basketball game with players in wheelchairs made the rounds at the office via email. Like many ads, the story at the heart of the ad didn’t have an inherent tie to the product it advertised. But by the end, the emotion and the brand message – “Made of more” – left a lasting impression with this viewer. Given that the ad has over 6.2 million views on YouTube, I suspect many others concur.

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