Businesses are hearing that story-telling engages people and turns them into customers. And that video is a great way of doing it. But, what story? And how do you tell it? The repetition-break plot structure is one way and it’s proved to work very well.

The term ‘repetition-break’ was adopted to describe a plot structure that is used in many TV adverts. And also underpins many jokes, particularly shaggy dog stories. It refers to repeating an action or situation and then breaking it at the end, to surprise and delight the audience.

Examples of the repetition-break structure

One of the most referenced examples is the MasterCard ‘Priceless’ campaign. The ‘repetition’ comes from the list of items that you can buy, then the ‘break’ comes when the last item is revealed to be priceless. This campaign was largely held responsible for moving MasterCard from an also-ran, way behind Visa in the US when the first ad ran in 1997, to a serious rival.

A more recent example is the Volkswagen ‘Force’ TV advert. A small boy dressed as Darth Vader becomes increasingly despondent as his attempts to apply the force to various household objects fail. At the end, he is shocked and delighted when the VW Passat responds to his powers – of course, it’s the father using the remote control, out of sight.

How can you use it?

There are two ways of delivering the repetition-break structure: all in one go, or giving each nugget its own slot and releasing them sequentially. A version of the latter used to be popular in newspapers, where a campaign would be spread over a number of sequential pages, always in the same position. Each page tantalises the reader until the final page with the break.

This latter version lends itself well to social media because a number of small, individual videos can be released over a number of days, or even hours. Once that initial impact has worn off and the slots could be seen out of order and hence lose context, a complete version can be launched.

To find out how effective the repetition-break structure can be, why not contact us today for top quality video marketing in Bristol and the South West?

Jo Aug 29th, 2017

About Jo Haywood

Jo is the Managing Director at Skylark Media. Before starting Skylark in 2005, Jo ran the BBC Lifestyle website and prior to that directed science documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. To switch off she can be found on the tennis court, at yoga, or planting trees in the forest garden.