One of my favorite questions for potential employees is, “When you were eight years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

I’ve interviewed countless wannabe pro baseball players, circus animal veterinarians and one aspiring McDonald’s fry cook. But no matter the childhood ambition, the best answers are the ones that lead into a story, where the specific—sometimes comedic, sometimes poignant—details draw a more dimensional portrait of the candidate in front of me.

It’s the same with brands. It’s easy to get seduced by a breathtaking visual or a super-smart headline. But when a brand takes the time to fill in the backstory, to doodle at the edges of the big idea and infiltrate the nooks of my brain and the crannies of my heart—that’s when the real connections begin. Pick up your phone now and look at these. It’s a week’s worth of inspiration.

Company: Merck
Agency: Wieden+Kennedy

A simple story about why I can’t sleep. A classic children’s tale where it turns out the villain isn’t truly evil, just misunderstood. The portayal of SLEEP and WAKE entirely through animated hair and action, wow. Pharma character we not only don’t hate, but could actually love? I could watch these characters for hours. Do they have their own webisodes? They should have their own webisodes.

Opioid addiction
Company: Orexo
Agency: StrawberryFrog

Pure menace. Completely articulates the dark, dirty stranglehold of addiction. Stunning.

Moto repellent
Agency: BBDO Bangkok

This product had me at “kills mosquitos via motorcycle exhaust.” Then they drove me into a Bollywood production where I see, feel and smell the streets that are being changed by its use. I do wish the creators hadn’t labeled the community a “slum”—but otherwise the curry of atmosphere, factoids and testimonials is delicious.

Company: Sanofi
Agency: Arnold NYC

I want to go to this paper-cutout world! I’m not completely sure why this technique is a strategic fit for the brand—but I don’t care. I want to see what’s going to happen next—and the technique really allows critical information to come forward. Huge kudos to the creative team for making a chart about insulin level engaging and communicative for a mass audience.

Company: Proctor & Gamble
Agency: Publicis

Boy raised by goats. It’s a really, really long way to go for a roast beef sandwich (or a tin can grass stew bowl). But everything about this spot is achingly beautiful. Casting, score, cinematography—plus the little zing when you figure out just what’s being sold.

Vitamin D assay
Company: Quest Diagnostics
Agency: CDM

When you can engage physicians with MOA as easy to digest as a Saturday morning cartoon, everyone wins.

Deborah Lotterman is chief creative officer, Lehman Millet