At D&AD Festival 2019 our Head of Marketing Luc Benyon presented ‘Storytelling and Context’. Below are the edited highlights from the talk, or you can read it on full here.

Here I’ll reveal the core elements of ‘context’ in a digital environment, In the full talk I show you how stories effect us emotionally, and I’ll bring them together using lots of creative examples. Finally I show how D&AD Black Pencil winners combine context and storytelling perfectly.

At video intelligence we have a product called vi stories: it’s a video player that analyses webpage content, and then delivers contextually-relevant videos into that page. This is why we’ve spent so much time understanding the mechanics of context, and how they affect the way we tell stories online.

This talk explores how brand stories and adverts can benefit from context.

Socio-linguist Alexandra Geogokopolou-Nunes conceives that context can be broken down into three areas:


The environment a story is experienced in affects how much attention we pay to it.

In online environments, we can consider environment at a granular level. Our interpretation of a video story delivered on a news webpage, for example, would be affected by the following:

  • The surrounding content of that article
  • The other ads on the page
  • tabs the user has open in their bowser?
  • social media notification blinking in the corner of their screen
  • What format the video is in: pre-roll, display, in-stream, or out-stream


Engagements can make or break a story, as different people bring new meanings when they interact.

Digital engagements are measurable and specific. They have become a driver of creative ideas and executions.

The volume of likes and shares can add gravitas to a post. But who has shared the post will also fundamentally affect the reception of it.


This is about the wider world a story lives in, it’s about connotations and discourse. Stories must reference elements of life that we all have a common understanding of.

Cultural context is crucial for stories to make sense.

Mapping context

Here we see the levels of context as they build up, overlap and interact. Context has many factors, and they all affect the way a story or ad is received. Deliver content in the right context, and people will remember it.

Read the full talk in three parts, below:

Part one shows creative examples of the three elements of context

Part two shows how neuroscience explains the effects of good stories

Part three reveals how world-class creative campaigns use context to their advantage