STORYTELLING

January 18, 2023

Meagan Voulo

Meagan is a full-time data analyst and a freelance writer. She hosts Forever Fantasy Readers for her fiction pieces.

Storytelling With Songs

Previously, we covered the connection between storytelling and marketing, focusing on how how to tell a story in marketing and why it’s so effective. When brands tell a story through a commercial or ad, consumers have a chance to connect to a good or service on a more personal level. However, I’d like to discuss an example of how a customer’s true story can also impact a brand. Enter Jax, a new pop artist whose viral song about the Victoria’s Secret brand is making history.

TikTok Famous

There’s no arguing - Jax’s song Victoria’s Secret was this summer’s anthem. If you’re not familiar with it, please give it a listen and then try to tell me this isn’t some of the best storytelling of our time. 

Inspired by the girl she babysits, Jax wrote Victoria’s Secret to tell a story that would challenge society’s beauty standards. The song first appeared on TikTok and quickly went viral. According to a Forbes article, Jax’s song calls out the Victoria’s Secret brand for  “profiting off young women while contributing to their negative body issues.”

I can’t say enough good things about the message, because, on a personal level, this song spoke to me. However, the point of this blog post isn’t to praise the budding pop artist. Instead, I’d like to explore why this song worked. 

What is Creative Nonfiction?

In essence, the song Victoria’s Secret is a work of creative nonfiction. 

According to CNF Magazine, “Simply put: Creative nonfiction is true stories, well told.” Typically memoirs fall under this category, as they’re based on true events, but told in a way that reads like a work of fiction. Personal essays are also commonplace in the genre. The key is that the writer tells a true, accurate story while employing literary techniques and appealing to emotion. 

Creative Nonfiction and Songwriting

The concept of telling a true story through a song isn’t new. Dating back to the Renaissance, narrative music served as an important part of European folk tradition in the form of ballads, which grew in popularity since then. From Bob Dylan to The Beatles and Rascal Flatts, some of the top music artists base(d) their songs on personal stories. 

What Jax Did right

Let’s take a closer look at why the song Victoria’s Secret did so well…

  1. The Hook: Good stories start with a hook and Victoria’s Secret is no exception. The first line reads, 

God, I wish somebody would've told me when I was younger that all bodies aren't the same

Oftentimes, a hook will introduce an idea, ask a question, or pull at the heartstrings. Jax hits the nail on the head by opening her song with an idea that’s relatable yet not often voiced. While the body positivity movement first emerged back in 2012, it still faces controversy in today’s society by those who claim that it encourages obesity. Jax’s opening line manages to address an important issue by making the song about her own experience.

  1. The Rhyme Scheme: After she hooks the listener in, Jax goes on to tell her story with a catchy rhyme scheme. This is where creative nonfiction really shines through as she tackles a serious issue while also injecting a bit of humor. 

Photoshop itty bitty models on magazine covers

Told me I was overweight

I stopped eating, what a bummer

Can't have carbs and a hot girl summer

While some writers avoid rhymes in their work, there’s something to be said about the power of songs that rhyme. Psychological studies have shown that rhymes affect language processing and improve memory

  1. The Message: Not surprisingly, Victoria’s Secret conveys an important message about societal beauty standards. However, something that might shock you is the extent of the song’s impact. 

Soon after the song went viral, Amy Hauk, the CEO of Victoria’s Secret and Pink brands, publicly responded to Jax’s song via an Instagram post geared toward the VS community. The letter essentially thanked Jax for bringing up important issues and emphasizes the company’s commitment to inclusivity. 

Creative Nonfiction and Marketing

Understanding how your customers react to your product or service is essential to marketing storytelling. Likewise, telling your brand’s true stories creatively can make the difference between acquiring a new customer and losing one. Whether it’s coming up with a jingle, a tagline, a blog series, or posting user-generated content, there are plenty of opportunities for companies to share true stories. If you’d like to work with a team of storytelling marketers, contact Hire a Writer today.

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