Finding archetypes in the wild

Finding archetypes in the wild

Twelve new characters have burst onto the Storyteller Tactics scene in the Archetypes expansion pack. But what does an archetype look like in action? Follow me as we hunt down real examples of archetypes being used by brands you know and love.

Pip Decks archetypes

We’ll start close to home: which archetypes do we use here at Pip Decks? Well, I spoke with Charles (Founder of Pip Decks) and Steve (Author of Storyteller Tactics and the Archetypes expansion) and we agreed that there are two main voices - with a hint of a third.

Hiding in plain sight is the voice of The Sage. Or should I say, The Sages? Our authors are all experts in their field, and as a result their tactics take an authoritative, instructional tone. They are written with experience and wisdom, so it wouldn’t do to take a jokey or uncertain tone of voice.

You might think that’s the predominant voice here. But really, The Companion’s voice is woven into almost everything else we do. You can see the companion at work in the Recipe cards and Strategy System inside each deck to help you work out where on earth to get started with our sage’s advice. And you can really see it in our newsletter, which talks about the relatable everyday occurrences and challenges we all encounter. Our companion’s voice is informal and friendly, which helps make our sages more accessible and less intimidating.

So what’s the third voice? We only bring that one out to play in very tiny doses. The voice of The Warrior is a powerful rallying cry. We’re more understated than that… usually. But you’ll spot it directly underneath the title on each deck of cards. For example:

Ditch dull presentations. Tell great stories.

And…

Ditch dull meetings. Design better products.

Archetypes from familiar businesses

Now you’ve met Pip Decks' three archetypal voices, perhaps you’ll be able to work out which voices the following brands make use of.

OpenAI

You might think that OpenAI would use the voice of The Explorer or The Magician, but take a look at this from their website:

Creating safe AGI that benefits all of humanity. 

And

Our mission is to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity.

That sounds more like The Caregiver, no? And there’s a reason for that. Their products (ChatGPt, for example) already embody magic and exploration. But the general population is wary of AI, so for OpenAI to assuage those fears they must use more reassuring language.

Old Spice and CeraVe

This aftershave brand needed to revive its image - it’s got a reputation for being popular with the older generation, which might put new, younger customers off. So what did they do? They employed The Jester to blow away the cobwebs in a series of witty, modern adverts that were a hot topic for months.

You can watch the advert, just be aware that it features a man in just a bath towel at the start so it’s probably not suitable for most workspaces! (Watch here).

And perhaps Old Spice created a trend, because the (formerly very utilitarian-appearing) skincare brand, CeraVe, launched the advert below, featuring Michael Cera - a super-famous modern Jester.

Land Rover and Patagonia

"Life is so much better without restrictions. Begin a journey of discovery. It’s time to take on a new adventure." Land Rover has chosen a voice (The Explorer) and they’re sticking to it!

Patagonia uses the same archetype, but has adapted it to include a hint of a second voice. Can you work out which one? Their homepage promises “You’ll find functional designs born from lives lived close to nature. Thoughtfully made, as always, to last a long time.”.

They home in on the ‘wildness’ of adventure, so have subtly woven The Caregiver into their messaging over the years. This reassures people that shop with them that the brand shares their concerns about habitat destruction and climate change.

Pixar, Adobe (Photoshop), LEGO

Pixar’s Our Story page talks a lot about the world ‘firsts’ and the ‘onlys’ they are responsible for. The first completely computer generated sequence in a movie, the first animated character etc. And then there’s the awards! You might think that this is an archetype called The Competitor. But let’s take a look at some other brands that share Pixar’s archetypal voice to see other aspects of it in action.

Adobe adverts promise "creativity for all"! "The world is your canvas!" “Make wow” (that one’s a bit weird, admittedly.) And LEGO? They feature children proudly holding up their monstrosities creations with headlines like “What it is, is creativity”. Yes - these brands all speak with the voice of The Artist. The reason Pixar sounds so different is that they have chosen the voice of a world-famous, unrivalled artist, while the other two brands are speaking to that creative spark that exists inside all of us.

There are twelve Archetypes to explore in the expansion pack. Each is described alongside their ‘dark side’ (what happens when you have too much of that personality!) and plenty of examples. Grab your deck now! And keep an eye out for archetypes in the wild - not just in brands, but in the people you meet every day.


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