Sean Payton’s bold risk to start the second half of Super Bowl XLIV with an on-sides kick was brilliant. No doubt, it tilted the momentum of the game in favor of the underdog Saints and inevitably led to their victory. It was an inspired, calculated risk; brilliantly executed. There just isn’t enough of this kind of audacious and fearless decision making in football. Or, for that matter, just about anywhere else these days.
Take the ads that ran on the Super Bowl XLIV telecast for example. With the possible exception of the Audi, “Green Car,” spot and the Late Night with David Letterman promo, marketers offered very little that was surprising or new. In fact, very few of the ads intrigued, captivated or enlightened Super Bowl viewers much at all.
Not that there weren’t some entertaining ads, they just seemed to be more of the same old, same old. Sure we laughed at some of the ads, but after today’s “cooler” talk, I don’t think any of these ads will remain in the minds of consumers, much less further the Brand’s relationship with these consumers to any measurable degree.
The “Betty White,” spot for Snickers was funny as were the Doritos spots (except the casket spot, which was a bit creepy). We got a laugh out of the Bud Light, “stranded,” spot as well. The VW, “Punch Dub,” spot did reward us with a fun cameo from Tracy Morgan and Stevie Wonder, but otherwise wasn’t anything special (unless you’re an indie rock fan like me who recognized the track as Grizzly Bear’s, “two weeks”).
Most disappointing, however, was that most of the advertisers were content to settle back to the old one way dialog approach. Even Coca-Cola, which seemed to have developed an inspired integrated approach to the big game, disappointed when the actual ads – especially the “Simpsons” spot for which they had offered us sneak previews, fell flat.
Probably the best example of an advertiser creating a dialog with viewers on this year’s Super Bowl telecast was the controversial “Focus on the Family,” spot with Tim Tebow. Forget the politics for a moment and focus only on an intriguing story that invites viewers to learn more at their website and I’d be surprised if they didn’t get an overwhelming response. I doubt many of the other spots last night will perform too well in that regard.
Coming off one of the worst years in memory for marketers, we need to inject the kind of bold and inspired actions that led the Saints to their come-from-behind upset victory into every business move we make. Just like the Saints couldn’t afford to wait to get the ball back if they wanted to win, we too need to take the ball back now. We need to start taking chances again and find surprising, unconventional ways to succeed.
Technology has changed the way we do everything. Consumers are more in control than ever before, but marketers are also now armed with more ways to reach and connect with these new actively engaged consumers than ever before. We need to tap the power of these myriad new ways to reach consumers to deliver courageously genuine, truthful and captivating ideas, seamlessly propelled across channels, throughout organizations and into the consciousness of consumers.
So let’s take a cue from Sean Payton and the Saints to inspire our own come-from-behind victory in 2010. Be bold!