How often have you heard the phrase, “We’ll leave the light on for you”? Motel 6 spokesman, Tom Bodatt’s melancholy voice would typically turn off a listener’s attention. However, the art of storytelling used by the company connects listeners and viewers around the country. In one Motel 6 Superbowl advertisement, you can witness how Bodatt utilizes superior storytelling to connect with individuals that may be technologically-challenged. If we have not experienced the headache of auto-correct personally, we know someone whose texts are often discernable due to misspellings. Within seconds, the spokesman connects with the listener by simply telling a familiar story.
The advertisement goes on to intentionally mispronounce various words because Bodett created his commercial script on his phone and the mobile spellcheck altered his words. Although he still provides a discernable persuasive argument during the commercial to convince individuals to stay at the motel, he does so in a funny manner that draws the listener in.
Kalle Lasn states, “The most powerful narcotic in the world is the promise of belonging.” (Simmons, Annette). The common phrase, “We’ll leave the light on for you” has a direct connection to belonging. When you choose an overnight amenity, you want to feel as if you belong and have all the comforts of home. Tom Bodatt provides this connectivity through these words, while acknowledging a common phone mishap with autocorrect.
The ad also provides us with the “human condition”. Honesty is not only key to maintain a good reputation, but essential to creating human characteristics that make a company more trustworthy. Someone proclaiming that they do their job well 100 percent of the time is detrimental, but if the person states they do their job well 80 percent of the time, it is more believable. “When we try to sound logical, we end up sounding less human” (Simmons, Annette). If a person feels as if you cannot connect to their plight in a non-robotic way, they will lose interest. This explains why the technologically-challenged Tom Bodett resonated with listeners. He showed that we’re all human and have faults. His fault just happened to be a common issue others have experienced which is managing autocorrect.
Although by definition persuasion is “an activity or process in which a communicator attempts to induce a change in the belief, attitude or behavior,” effective storytelling connects before attempting to convince (Wilcox, Dennis and Cameron, Glen. Public Relations Strategies and Tactics). Simmons illustrates, “Genuine influence occurs between people who feel comfortable with each other” (Simmons, Annette). With each Motel 6 advertisement, the company goes out of its way to create a calm and inclusive demeanor so effectively that the listener may not realize they are being persuaded to complete an action at all. The goal of Motel 6 was not to bombard the listener or viewer with an advertisement, but for each person to get lost in a story.