Interview by CHELSEA AISS, from J. Walter Thompson.
Antonio Nunez Lopez is the Head of Planning at *SCPF…
He co-authored a book called, Consultoría Política, that was awarded the “Napolitan Victory Award” by The Washington Academy of Political Arts and Sciences.
We chatted with Antonio to learn more about the award-winning book and political storytelling.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in a small town in Jerez near the south of Spain, which is most known for producing Sherry wine. I was the first member of my family who chose not to work in the wine industry. Instead, I wanted to become a writer but ended up studying Business Administration. I eventually realized that I could tell stories by using tools other than books. From architects to hairdressers, from butchers to priests, from art directors to data-scientists, we are all in the storytelling business. As a global planner by trade, I am grateful to be given the opportunity to tell stories that become part of pop culture, adding meaning and shared experiences to people in many countries. I am crazy about stories in all shapes and forms: I have written seven books on storytelling, hundreds of newspaper articles, produced and appeared in TV and radio shows and traveled the world as a motivational speaker.
Can you summarize the book you co-authored?
This collective book is the ambitious project of the Camilo Jose Cela University in Spain. They asked top-level political advisors from sixteen countries to create a professional manual for political consultants. My contribution is on political storytelling – how to shape your political ideas, party and candidates into a synergistic story form, while also keeping it relevant as the context changes.
What motivated you to write this book? Who is this book targeting?
I love political storytelling. It’s very fast-paced, highly volatile and complex. Also, politics are pervasive in our daily lives, especially in Latin America, where there is so much to do collectively. Political storytelling also requires a unique blend of professionals. This book is for anyone interested in understanding the challenges of campaigning and governing in Spanish-speaking countries.
How do your findings in the book tie into strategies and the future of advertising?
Political storytelling is about finding what people are talking about, asking for permission to participate in their conversations and then bringing your own point of view to the table in a rigorous, but entertaining way. Therefore, it’s about embracing conflicts and hot topics. It’s about choosing sides in a responsible way and adding value and meaning to conversations. In that sense, I see that commercial advertising is on the path to becoming a similar thing. Brands cannot be intrusive anymore. To gain social currency, brands need to earn their right to be part of culture making. And that means bringing value and new meanings to hot topics and former universal truths that are currently debated and in the process of transformation. No conflict, no story. If you want a meaningful brand, you need to embrace conflicts.
In your opinion, who is one of the most iconic storytellers of all time and why?
Steve Jobs was a great storyteller. He wasn’t afraid of sharing his personal narrative to enrich the Apple brand. “Connecting the dots”, his commencement speech at Stanford in 2005, is one of my favorite speeches of all time, a genuine story of failure, personal crisis, rising from the ashes and the meaning of life. After Jobs’ leadership at Apple, choosing a computer became a very personal thing. That’s a lot to say for a product category that, before his stories, used to be about cold and functional decisions on price per speed and memory.
A version of this interview was originally published by the J. WALTER THOMPSON blog in OCT 9th, 2017.