Monogamy, Addiction and Storytelling – A Trio That Can’t Be Beat…1,001 Mr. Magazine’s™ Blog Posts Takes A Lesson From 1,001 Nights And Passes It On To Magazines.February 10, 2015
There was a story written long ago, that I’m sure many of you remember reading or hearing about, called One Thousand and One Nights, often known in English as Arabian Nights. Now I won’t give you a long, drawn-out refresher course in literature; suffice it to say, the premise of the story was the King, Shahryar, is shocked to discover his sister-in-law has been unfaithful to his brother for quite some time and subsequently finds out his own beloved bride isn’t so lily-white either when it comes to the art of fidelity.The King has her executed and becomes bitter toward all women, marrying a succession of virgins, only to execute them one by one due to his mistrust of the fairer sex. Eventually the Vizier, whose duty it is to provide them, cannot find any more virgins. Scheherazade, the Vizier’s daughter, offers herself as the next bride and her father reluctantly agrees. On the night of their marriage, Scheherazade begins to tell the king a tale, but does not end it; she only leaves him longing for more each night, which does wonders for her ability to stay alive.
And hence, Mr. Magazine’s™ narrative begins where Scheherazade’s left off. Magazines could learn a few things from One Thousand and One Nights. When Digital showed her curvaceous pixels onto the magazine scene, publishing kings were definitely affected by the temptations she offered. And while print was certainly more monogamous than Shahryar’s brother’s wife proved to be; publishing kings were merely chomping at the bit to ‘execute’ their ink on paper spouse and marry every digital maiden that happened along, seeing visions of digital empires and fruitful offspring throughout that new kingdom called cyberspace.
Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work that way for magazine media, or King Shahryar, for that matter; albeit their situations were slightly reversed, with the kings of publishing trusting their new digital brides just a bit too much.
But while Shahryar was always distrustful of women after his brother’s experience, there was one thing for certain, he was still addicted to the opposite sex and kept coming back for more with as many different young ladies as the Vizier could find.
The addiction must be there. Without the desire and magnetic pull urging and demanding the King to try again or in the magazine’s case, the customer’s habitual return to the product, there would never have been a continuing relationship with Scheherazade for him, or a recurrence of connection and relevance with the audience for the magazine.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the customer being obsessed with your product. In fact, it’s encouraged, just in case someone out there was wondering. A printed magazine is one of the most obsessional items around for human beings who enjoy reading. It’s an experience that plays on all the senses on many levels. So don’t kick it to the curb just because it’s the 21st century. In fact, most publishers today are finding print to be the collectable part of their digital/ink on paper duo, with a lot of digital companies conceiving print components just to add that attribute to their brand. You can’t exactly stick a webpage in the bottom drawer of your grandmother’s antique dresser to pull out later when you have the time to savor it. I suppose you could stick your laptop there, but trust me, the experiences are much different. Not to mention, the computer would most likely be dead anyway, depending on how long it took you to get back to it.
Once you’ve established the addiction factor into your kingdom, never forget the allure and deep satisfaction people have for the art of storytelling. After all, it’s what kept Scheherazade alive every night, that ability that she had to keep the King wanting more.
Weaving enchanting stories into the content of your product will continue that all-important addiction and perpetuate audience connection and repetition in a way that nothing else can.
Just remember that the King’s curiosity about the story Scheherazade told always bought her another day of life. Magazines would do well to remember that lesson.
Monogamy, addiction and storytelling – three points of interest in One Thousand and One Nights and three points of interest in Mr. Magazine’s™ 1,001 blog post. And as it was in Scheherazade’s case, there is always hope when you’re willing to innovate, create and motivate your product to be the best it possibly can.