The Art of Vertical Story Telling in Digital Media – Facebook Thumbstoppers

angshuman sett

27 Feb 2020

Storytelling is glorious creativity, that too when it’s applied to Facebook, If you know what I mean!! Facebook stories are visual ways to highlight content which can increase the potential of brand awareness, generate leads and intrigue the audience to find more about it. The additional features of adding music, elements and filters make the shared content more fantastic and attractive. As a matter of fact, Facebook storytelling ads is doing very well, Facebook stories have over 500 million users as compared to other social network platforms.

Have you ever wondered what leads to its rapid popularity and consistency? 

Vertical or Portrait Storytelling is an art of making innovation stand out as more and more people are becoming “mobile-centric”. Capturing a story within a framework of correct shape and size not only attracts the viewers’ attention but also gives way to the audience to get consumed by its mobile-friendly arrangement. 

How is Vertical Storytelling better than Horizontal Story Telling?

Imagine a situation when you go through a horizontal ad and it looks pretty much productive on Youtube, Laptop and Desktops but as soon as that horizontal format suits it perfectly but the same thing does not go with your mobile phone, it rather looks disorganized, uninteresting and small unless we flip our screen! Another example, if you take a picture it’s more likely that you’ll select the vertical video frame as a result of holding the phone vertically rather; it’s a fact as the percentage of holding the phone vertically reaches up to 90%.

Why have the “Thumbstoppers” made a difference in the Art of Story Telling?

Kiran Rao at the Thumbstoppers Summit, she has created two, 10 seconds videos.


Thumbstopper video ads create a lasting impact because the video contains a very limited time of say 11 seconds and the fast-paced world wants nothing more than a few seconds that would enlighten them morally and socially. These are short stories that will not leave you like the same person you were before. Companies have recognized the factor and are moving ahead to promote their products with regard to the welfare of society. Taking the example of “Dove soap”, Dove cherishes the natural beauty of a woman and hence the “Thumbstopper” presented below will highlight not to feel ashamed about the birthmarks, scar marks, etc.

How the Thumbstopper changes society: The perception people have towards society’s unrealistic beauty standards.

Facebook Thumbstoppers and the Masterpiece of Vertical Storytelling

Facebook Thumbstoppers are innovative stories that force our thumbs to stop scrolling down because they consist of such “empathically rich” contents that make us emotional and creates a sense of catharsis (sense of purification after having pity over something/someone). 

 Facebook Thumbstoppers brings forward a competition that carries a considerable amount of Elegant thumb stoppers that have impacted the viewers and society equally. In 2019 the biggest platform for  Asia’s mobile Video advertisement summit was organized and the selective special ones are just awesome and equally deep.

These are some of the mindboggling scripts that readily impressed everyone and further got produced by Facebook juries winning many awards.

  • Yashaswini Singh is a Copywriter of Wunderman Thompson, her thumb stopper cherishes the empowerment of acid attack victims which is indeed a sensitive topic. The video stares Anmol Rodriguez who was traumatized by her father as a baby, who threw acid on her. She is a fashion sensation and an actress now. The video states,

         “What is human behavior we want to change?

         “Employers often discriminate against acid attack survivors for jobs.”

  • Nuthatch Enayath is a Junior Copywriter from Wunderman Thompson, this thumb stopper is not only deep but equally humorous. It’s something every woman can relate to as they are often victimized by whistles, leers, and sleazy stares. Many try to protest and many succumb to the situation while others are simply mute viewers.

Brief:  “Not all Protests are loud”

  • Kiran Rao is a critically acclaimed filmmaker of India whose films have featured in Toronto Film Festival  Her Thumbstopper idea highlights the problems of gender discrimination in India. Patriarchy at it’s best “boys are given more privileges in comparison to girls but do boys want that special attention?” It’s about breaking the stereotypes of domesticity who prefer boys more!!

Another thumb stopper raises the voice of the Victims of domestic abuse. Every third woman of India suffers from Marital Rape and abuse, therefore it’s time to say “enough to that violence” 


  • Anirudh Venugopal is a Copywriter of  Dentsu Webchutney, a media company. His thumb stopper makes us aware of the Inequality of Payscale among men and women. The presentation of the video is awestriking by all means.

The most Heart touching Vertical Thumbstopper that broke the social media with tears and empathy is about the miserable living conditions of Hong-Kong based citizens. Within the format of 9:16, the pathetic and meager state of a man is highlighted. The base or the edges of the phone is the only limit of the poor man where he stands, wears his clothes searches through things, etc. HK4A’s Kam Fan Award created a section by the title “Mobile” – “Vertical Storytelling“, sponsored by Facebook was won over by “ Subdivide flat in a mobile”  won 2 passes for Cannes Lions 2020.

After looking through the video just ask yourself; had you observed the entire video in horizontal format could you feel the same empathy, hardship the man suffers through? In one word: No!

Many corporate sectors are turning towards this portrait storytelling ads format, but one must be careful that it’s not as easy it’s simply a work of art and you need to give your 100% in the production of a terrific few seconds videos like the ones mentioned above. As the use of mobile and social media continues to expand, there is tremendous power for vertical storytelling videos and a trove of undiscovered and unheard possibilities to create innovative work using vertical storytelling ads.

Carlos Camacho, Executive Creative Director of Wunderman Thompson says that the main thing is the spirit of experimenting and understanding the fact that you can always attempt different ideas and things to improve what you are good at.

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