FINDING TRUE NORTH
might wonder about the lost opportunity during the period which no blockbuster Foundling emerged.) The details of these archetypal stories are varied, but the basic structures are remarkably consistent. It was The Yearling in 1946, Old Yeller in 1958, E.T. in 1982, Free Willy in 1993 . . . an astounding reﬂection of the power and importance of mythic stories. The foundling may take the form of a horse or a dog or a “politically correct” 1990s whale, but the fundamental architecture of these stories and the purpose they serve remain inviolate. The details are simply updated to ﬁt the times. But in each era, people love to learn the stories, again and again, because they serve some important psychological purpose for their audiences, whether they realize it or not.
Let Me Tell You a Story There are only two or three great human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as ﬁercely as if they had never happened before. Willa Cather
As the storytellers for archetypal brands, we should be capable of understanding and expressing the great human stories, providing a “voice”—to be communicated through advertising, points of sale, Web sites, public relations, and so on—that is worthy of a mythic identity. In many cases, these stories may be the narratives that reveal the essential dilemmas and issues surrounding your archetype. However, great story patterns can often be used by more than one archetype. For example, the Cinderella story is a Lover story, so it is a good story to tell for a Lover brand. However, if your brand has a function similar to that of the fairy godmother, then the story could be used by a Magician brand, casting the brand in the role of the magical helper. If your brand has a Hero or Explorer identity, you would focus on the role of the prince, searching everywhere for his lost love and, in the process, rescuing her. But what are the great stories? And what is the meaning and purpose of stories in our lives in the ﬁrst place? It pays to consider the early role that stories played in our own lives and in the evolution of the culture. If you have had children, or if you can remember being a child