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Cabbage Patch dolls mastered storytelling marketing

Cabbage Patch dolls mastered storytelling marketing

Storytelling is a huge tactic in the marketing world. Stories build human connection. Bridging the product or service you’re trying to sell with the person you hope to buy it.

As The Judd’s once said, “Love can build a bridge”.

The greatest story in marketing history

Many people in today’s day and age might not remember the Black Friday craze of Cabbage Patch dolls in 1983.

In our opinion, Xavier Roberts is a genius.

What might seem as a simple doll is actually one of the best examples of storytelling marketing to date.

When Xavier created Cabbage Patch dolls, he didn’t just put them on the shelf to sell, he had a faux birthplace, maternity ward, nursing staff and adoption papers for all of the dolls. He created a story and an experience. Not a product.

In a practical sense, is it bizarre? Completely. You should see inside Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia.

However, in a marketing sense, it’s utterly genius. Cabbage Patch dolls come with a story that its buyers get to be a part of.

The consumer doesn’t just buy a doll from a store. They adopt a baby from a hospital. Cabbage Patch dolls build the human connection and create an experience like no other product we’ve seen.

They tugged at the heart-strings of children everywhere to give these “babies” a “forever home”.

What can we learn from Cabbage Patch dolls?

Cabbage Patch dolls took a relatively mundane, overproduced industry and made it unique by selling an experience.

The simplicity of the product or service you’re trying to sell doesn’t matter. If you can establish a relatable story and experience to what you’re trying to sell, you have marketing gold.

A good story makes a consumer feel included, related-to and invested in more than just a product.

How to create your story?

Storytelling starts with reflection, life experience and resurfacing memories or relatable situations. What triggers your senses?

For example, if you’re in the food industry, what was your fondest memory in the kitchen? Perhaps you’ve had a cooking blunder that ended up in disaster. These stories are relatable and host the opportunity to build a bridge from the heart to a product. Just like Cabbage Patch dolls. They bridged the heart to the product.

What’s a product that hosts a story you remember?

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