Storytelling: History’s greatest love stories should inspire your business

by Catriona Conway-Mortimer

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

This Valentine’s Day our own linguistics expert takes a look at the most romantic yarns and the secret to their success

Scottish PR agency storytelling inspiration from the finest love stories

Storytelling. It has become a marketing buzzword heard on every expert’s podcast or white paper.

And while we’ve been espousing its virtues over the past 15 years, its safe to say everyone is now jumping on the wagon.

Yet whether it is because of our ancestors’ fondness for campfire tales – or our love of being transported to another dimension, storytelling (and reading and listening) is part of our make-up.

Why stories are at the heart of your business (and ours)

In a business setting, whether or not a story is told well enough can determine how much coverage a press release might get, or how much time someone will spend on a client’s website.

Perhaps most crucially it could make or break whether the client will be bought into the story enough to purchase a service or product.

From which information to include, to the style of the writing itself, crafting a text that’s interesting, gripping or just downright entertaining is an art.

And while having proven yarn-spinners in your business’s corner is of huge importance if you want to meaningfully engage your audience, even the best of us have to simply swoon at the ultimate love stories.

February 14th

At the most romantic time of the year, we thought we’d look back over some of the best love stories that have been told over time.

Now let’s face it, most love stories are pretty much the same. After the hundreds of thousands of years of us telling them, it’s not surprising that the limited variations of the whole ‘boy meets girl’ saga get recycled time and again.

But while many authors struggle to create a work good enough for people to dedicate their time to, some of those stories do stand out from the rest, stand the test of time and have moved a nation.


Romeo and Juliet

File:E. Fortescue-Brickdale -- Romeo and Juliet Farewell.jpg


You guessed it. We couldn’t really write a blog post on love stories and not mention Romeo and Juliet, could we?

Though Shakespeare’s iconic script certainly shows the play’s age, the story itself is one that can be applied through the decades, as the various onscreen and onstage adaptations have proven.

Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 take Romeo and Juliet has probably been the most popular interpretation of Shakespeare’s work. He set the scene in the then current day, but chose not to lose the all-important lines of the sixteenth century play.

But what’s made this love story so successful?

Obviously it has something to do with the fact that the greatest playwright of all time spun the tale with his web of words that portray the characters so well.

But the story itself has two of the key components needed for a classic romantic tale: tragedy and forbidden love.

The themes of love and hate completely taking over the play’s characters and driving them to the extremes is what makes the masterpiece so powerful. Audiences love to see emotion portrayed as something dangerous.

And the juxtaposing of love and romance with humour and violence adds depth to the story – it keeps it interesting for all audiences and prevents it from becoming a bratty tale of lovesick teenagers.


The Great Gatsby

Image result for the great gatsby

Photo credit: Christo Drummkopf

Probably Scott Fitzgerald’s finest novel, The Great Gatsby is a great example of the classic ‘one that got away’ story line. And thrown into the mix is the age-old rich girl, poor boy subtext.

Set in the roaring 20s, the story follows the lives of glamorous socialite Daisy Buchanan and her old flame Jay Gatsby.

The couple part years before the story begins, after a short romance, when Gatsby leaves for war.

They lose touch, but Gatsby never gives up on his love for Daisy and spends every moment since they last met desperately trying to build his empire so that one day, when he meets Daisy again, he’ll be the sort of man she’ll want to marry.

But by the time they reunite, Daisy has already married the arrogant, old money Tom Buchanan.

The story follows the events that take place in the blurry mess of the party fuelled jazz age as Gatsby attempts to erase the past and win Daisy back.

The carefully plotted timeline of the novel is a key part of its success. It manages to pinpoint the frustrating feeling of ‘it’s just bad timing’ and the big ‘will-they-won’t-they’ question. And with the mystery that surrounds the protagonist Gatsby, the reader is kept guessing until the very last page.

Fitzgerald cleverly avoids ever having much explicitly said between characters – but the details of the story told through the eyes of the narrator – their mutual friend Nick Carraway – build over the pages nonetheless leave the feelings of every character clearly understood by the readers.

It is this power of suggestion and implicit detail through the story that gives the Great Gatsby its poignancy that hailed it one of America’s greatest novels.

TS Eliot even said “It seems to me the first step American fiction has taken since Henry James.”

But with Fitzgerald’s use of imagery that portrays the lavish lifestyle of the spectacular 20s, The Great Gastby is not just a love story between two people, but also an ode to the American Dream.

So we’ve looked at probably the most famous romantic play of all times, an iconic novel love filled with devotion and yearning, it’s only right now that our next exhibit is one intended for cinema.

We put such a strong focus on our video work at Holyrood PR  because we understand just how influential film can be.



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Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman it was hard for this film not to be a box office hit. But the film has become far more than that.

Casablanca was created in the 40s and is set during World War. The film’s protagonist is Rick – an American expat in Casablanca, Morocco, who helps refugees fleeing Nazi advances escape to the US.

Rick is faced with a difficult decision when his past lover, who mysteriously left him years ago in Paris, turns up at his club with her new husband, asking for help to get out the country, prompting the famous quote “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.”

The film is consistently listed in the best films in history ranks, thanks to its cast, memorable lines and revered theme song ‘As Time Goes By’.

The Academy Award-winning film ticks two of the important boxes of a good romantic film: it’s serendipitous and there’s a damsel in distress.

It’s one that’s ideal for watching this Valentines Day as, for some reason, there’s something romantic about watching a film in black and white.

Get in touch with our team of storytelling experts

Storytelling used to be a skill reserved for authors, journalists and enthusiastic librarians. But these days we’re all doing it, in blogs, through pictures and on our social media platforms.

So if you’re planning on starting your own romantic story this February 14th, why not consider taking some inspiration from the finest above – and then get in touch with those that can tell your business’s own story to the world, in a way that makes it more profitable and a happier place to be.

If you’d like to open that book, call us on 0131 561 2244 or by using the form below:

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Catriona Conway-Mortimer, account executive with Holyrood PR in Edinburgh, Scotland

Catriona Conway-Mortimer

Catriona Conway-Mortimer is part of the award-winning PR team at Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh

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