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Crafting the new narrative
that tethers us together.

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— One —

I am Katharticus

The Psychic Wallop
of Somebody Else’s Life

The Greeks, they had it figured. Rationalized down to a science. Content’s critical function? To provide an emotional purgative. A soul laxative. And those who refused to learn from the tragic enactments of masked thespians were doomed to stab themselves in the eyes with their momma’s jewelry. Or befall some other fate just as allegorically terrifying.

Flash forward to this brave new elusory world of transmedia stories on overdrive, fragmenting themselves across diverse mediums and multiple devices. Does Aristotle still look like a behavioral genius? Or is the “new story” more aligned with the Platonic view of art’s toxic tendency to obscure the real truth?

Just what—in this here and now—is the relevant function of these new polymorphic story forms? Are they a welcome reprieve from reality? A panacea to quell our urge to self-mutilate? Or simply one more brand impression in sheep’s clothing? Has it become content’s ultimate fate to be painted with a brand brush and pimped out to hawk sneakers? Four dollar cups of coffee? Lifestyles? Who needs emotional catharsis when you can get a digital tablet designed to poach your time and pick your pocket?

The simple answer:
We do. Me’s and you’s.
The humans among us.

Be they verbal or visual, driven by linear plot or revealed by cumulative experience, well-crafted stories possess a near-mystic power to strum the connective threads of our common humanity. They unite us through our shared affinities, desires, foibles and convictions. They help us define who we are, both individually and as co-voyagers on this planet.

Even in the post-ironic now, the critical function of content remains the same as it ever was. An invitation to viscerally experience the psychic wallop of somebody else’s life. And to understand more fully, through that sharing, what it means to be human.

Content holds back the dark.

— Two —

Build It Where They Live

Staking a Claim to Consumer-Front Acreage

Designing brands that catch hold and endure with today’s ultra-connected, hyper-dubious, attention-deficit consumer can be a genuine challenge. Especially for those who rely on conventional, “tried-and-tired” methods of marketing. Fortunately, there’s a new thunderbolt in the arsenal; one that allows consumers to engage in more personal, more human ways with those brands that truly speak their language. We’re talking about that new darling of the last

Compared to traditional media, Social’s cheap.
Social’s fast. Social’s engaging.
And when your primary target is 18-39 (bullseye of 18-24) years-old, Social is where they live.

A trio of entrepreneurs descended on Tether recently with big dreams and a delicious chunk of chocolate. AWAKE chocolate. Their request? That we help them convert Canada’s first and only caffeinated chocolate bar into a global brand. Yes, they had an appetizing product with an intriguing proposition—but no real brand to tout. No differentiating visual aesthetic. No context for positioning themselves in an appropriate category.

No brand story.

Ears to Hear
and Beak to Babble

So we set to work doing what we do best—crafting a 360º story that would manifest itself effectively across all consumer touch points; both visually, through a unique brand identity and retail aesthetic, and verbally, through a more human point of brand engagement; an anthropomorhic mascot representative of all things AWAKE. The spokes-owl, Nevil. Embodiment of wisdom, vigilance, and staying up late.

All AWAKE messaging—from the
brand-to-vendor guidebook to
consumer-facing missives—comes right out of
the owl’s mouth. In short, Nevil is the brand.
And Nevil is one Social animal.

Here There and Everywhere

With a primary target of 18-39 year-olds, we made a conscious, strategic decision to drive the initial conversation to Facebook. To get things going, Nevil hosted weekly giveaways of custom swag—T’s, hats, skate decks, messenger bags, even a snowboard—through contests revolving around “Liking” the brand.

Nevil also activated his own Twitter account, where he engaged fledgling fans and media personalities alike. While Nevil’s true fans were definitely on Facebook first, the conversations he engaged in on Twitter had a completely different audience—traditional influencers such as editors, PR, marketing & design junkies.

Next, Nevil plunged, pin feathers-deep, into Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. The former, to better share live events and add more visual stimulus. The latter, to help round out his character though engagement on another platform.


Our integrated Paid-Earned-Owned strategy surrounded consumers with effectively targeted ads on Facebook, an ongoing, brand-consistent dialogue between Nevil and his fan base, and a highly PR-able grassroots effort centered around a college tour to drive product trial and introduce Nevil in all his feathered glory.

The Eyes Wide Open Tour covered 46 Canadian campuses, from Halifax to Vancouver, in just over 30 days. Utilizing two custom wrapped buses and assisted by street teams, Nevil handed out over 500K sample bars, garnering tens of thousands of new fans, and new Facebook “Likes” in the process.

As brand awareness increased, AWAKE launched an Ambassador Program, targeting devout fans from Facebook and Twitter. New Ambassadors were welcomed with introductory kits chock-full of AWAKE swag (t-shirt, touque, pen, notepad, samples) and brand literature that shared an engaging, repeatable version of AWAKE’s mission and story. These kits also doubled as PR and media packets, promptly arriving on the desks of top influencers as well.

Staying Wide Awake
to the Bottom Line

To date, sales are topping the $2MM mark. AWAKE Chocolate is now jumping off the shelves in more than 11,000 outlets, including every major retailer in Canada and an ever-expanding roster of established chains in the U.S. It’s also offered online through Amazon, and

As for that super-crucial Social element, Nevil currently generates up to 1.5 million impressions a week through his actively engaging presence on Facebook (33K regular followers), Twitter, and in other target-relevant Social media channels.

So in short, yes, it’s working. Just ask Nevil.

Tether Poll

What would you prefer to be

Only you can decide—
vote below.

— Three —

Two big hearts.

One synchronous thrum.

Some soul mates are found where
we least expect them.

Tether pays homage to Narrative Devices that simply refuse to expire.
The first in a series.