Despite the desire to laugh at what appears to be the world’s biggest advertising and sporting circus, this year's Super Bowl has left us with a profound and powerful message. Where there is bravery and courage great things happen.
The Seahawks won (and I am an expert having played it once on the beach with a sponge rugby ball) because above all else they played at an intensity and confidence that would not allow the Broncos into the game. Every single player in that team did their job beyond what was expected because they had the courage to give everything they had on every single play in the game. As a Brit in the UK I realise I am in danger of coming across with all the cultural subtlety of the official US Winter Olympic team outfit. But after the confusing start where I thought for a moment the Broncos actually had a horse in their team (as it galloped onto the field through a tunnel of cheerleaders) the lesson of the Seahawks is there for all of us to imitate if we want to be successful.
They played the game with total belief and confidence in themselves and their game plan. They managed the game so the area where they had the clearest advantage, their defence, became the fulcrum of the whole match. You could see the confidence they had in themselves pouring through the pictures of the TV screen. They had the body language of rightful winners from the start. They were not carrying a single player. Everyone performed. Offence, defence and special teams. They had the mindset that gave them the execution that won them the game.
The best ads of this Super Bowl had that same sense of bravery and courage. The best example, although there are quite a few, is the Newcastle Brown Ale work that Droga5 created. And they didn’t even buy any media space. They had no right to be there. They had the courage, with the client, to be brave and break new ground. It was originally executed and across multiple platforms. When you make something like that you often get halfway through and wonder if it’s really going to work. The great teams just get through it and use that energy to make it even better. I can also guess how much work and effort went into making this campaign from everyone at the agency. Where there is bravery and courage great things happen. Droga5 showed they are a great team. They had the mindset that gave them the execution that won them the game.
There are of course elements of this Super Bowl that to me did not embrace the same values. I wish Bruno Mars had worked with Droga5. From what I could see he turned up with exactly the same show as always, give or take a pointless bit of clunky drumming at the beginning and the appearance of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers at the end (perhaps down to a lack of confidence?) Again in the absence of any new ideas even the Chilli Peppers just jumped around with Anthony Kiedis, wearing no shirt, playing a song from the early 90s. All very good but also all very familiar. Even the commentators on Channel 4 struggled to give it a 7 out of 10. A shame because I actually really like Bruno and have loved the Chilli Peppers for 20 years.
So, thank you Super Bowl for reminding us again as we begin our own marches through 2014 that fortune will still belong to the brave and to the courageous and thank you for providing some fantastic, groundbreaking creative work. Despite the brand’s claim of “no bollocks” I conclude that Newcastle Brown Ale really does have some and has shown them to the world. May we all follow.