Lizzie Combs, Sarah Galaro Discuss Modern Media’s Affect On Narrative Storytelling

Advertising and writing are one in the same

March 31, 2023

Sleeping students, exaggerated yawns and unfocused kids are what usually fill my first period English class.

But when Lizzie Combs and Sarah Galaro presented to us about ‘How Narrative Storytelling Took Over Modern Media’, the students suddenly became interested and engaged with what they were learning. 

Combs and Galaro are not only co-presenters, but sisters who have taken the same career path. They are both theater majors who now work for marketing firms. Because of their knowledge of both careers, they were able to explain why the two things were so similar. 

The presentation started with famous ads like M&M and Pringles. They used these ads not only because they appeal to the age group of the students, but because they tell a story within 30 seconds. 

For example, they explained that the reason the M&M ad worked so strongly was because it engages the audience and it gives them a positive memory to think about the next time they come across M&M’s. 

After watching the ads, Combs and Galaro discussed what made them such good ads. They shared the key elements that go into making an ad and how they are used every day.  These elements include a story plot and the hero’s journey to develop the ad into a memorable story.

Combs and Galaro then went around the room and asked the students what they thought made a good ad. At first there were little responses, but over time more people chimed in.

 Combs and Galaro made answering questions fun for the students. They awarded the students with praise and appreciation for answering, even if it wasn’t a correct answer. 

Then, instead of giving the usual lecture or notes that LitFest presenters give, Combs and Galaro sent the students off to come up with an example of a good ad for themselves. The ad would be to promote LitFest and share how it positively impacted students. 

We were put into groups of five and were given 10 sheets of paper. We were then told to write out each element of the ad and share it to the class. 

Out of the five presentations we watched, most started with the burden students endure of going to English class each morning. It then transferred to the students finding out they were going to Lit Fest and instantly their mood changed to excitement. After the LitFest presentation, the students went on to be famous writers and LitFest speakers themselves. 

These ads had the key elements it takes to create a well-thought out and creative ad. With speakers like Combs and Galaro, LitFest becomes a valuable experience that can influence students to explore the various ways to express themselves. It would be a mistake for them to not come back to LitFest in the following years.

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