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6 Word Stories

Make It Quick: Tell Your Story in Six Words

Advertising is storytelling. Many of the best examples tell a complete story in just a few words. They convey emotion, inspiring you to fill in the blank spaces with your own personal connections. If it’s really good at making you feel something, you’ll think about it minutes, hours, or even days afterward. Poof! Now you’re in a relationship with the brand. 

From the smallest ads to the largest websites, it’s essential to quickly connect with your audience. To get a clear message across and ignite a response in the most accessible, efficient, effective — and affective — ways. 


A fun way to build your brevity brawn

“Flash fiction,” also known as “micro fiction,” is characterized by extreme brevity. One of its most popular forms, the “six-word story” offers an awesome opportunity to build better storytelling instincts. When we tried it as a group here at Phire, it proved to be a fun and meaningful challenge. 

And we were in good company – legend has it that even Ernest Hemingway participated in the practice. The six-word story’s most famous example is attributed to him:


For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.  


That’s quite the emotive snapshot. Sadness and heartbreak are conveyed with a concise few words. But six-word stories don’t have to be tragic, they can also be humorous:


I’m beside myself. Cloning machine worked. 


Or even offer soap-opera-level dramatic:


Brought roses home. Key didn’t fit. 


Hit ’em where they live

Why do these work and teach so well? Because they hit you where you live. They recall the human experiences of death, tragedy, failed romance, and self replication (okay, maybe not that one), swiftly and deeply. They also prompt you, the reader, to fill in the details, a.k.a. “the elements of storytelling.” Instantly you build the exposition, conflict, climax, and more in your head. 

Bigger isn’t always better — saying a lot by saying a little is a skill that can draw your audience to your brand and make an impression that doesn’t dwindle.  


Valentina Silva