This World Cup has proven a couple of things:
1) Soccer players have an incredible intolerance for contact – seeming to fall to the ground in complete agony for every small infraction.
2) The Vuvuzela (that annoying plastic horn from South Africa) is now literally the most despised invention of all time.
3) And lastly, it is not fact or insight that compels a marketer to stand out, but instead the quality in which their story is told.
As a schooled account planner, it falls upon me and others like me to identify the F-Me facts (credit DraftFCB for that terminology) and mind-blowing insights that support effective communications. And so, as is the nature of planning, by uncovering this information we give our client and their business a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Something we assume, maybe out of pride or vanity, is that the fact or insight we uncover is intrinsically novel, proprietary, ownable, and SUPER IMPORTANT to the process… and in most instances, I hope you’d agree, that is entirely true.
But this World Cup provided an alternative and fresh perspective. In a controlled environment like the recent soccer championship you might conclude that no fact was completely novel for marketers. No data point was proprietary, and all the insights into soccer culture and sport history were easily had; in essence the marketers were competing on a completely level playing field. That almost never happens.
In the past four weeks, because of this controlled environment, it became easier than ever to identify the true creative giants in our industry, those whose creative brilliance showed in their ability to outstage the rest in crafting compelling, engaging, and totally captivating stories.
As compelling as the nations on the soccer field were in creating drama (sometimes of their falsified theatrics, like a player falling down even when noone touched him), so too were the best advertisements of the World Cup in developing heroes who were endearing. We rooted for them. We held our breath. And in the end we were captivated by their story. This World Cup should remind us that there is no greater insight into human nature than the power of a great story, and the ability to tell this story in a compelling fashion is what separates the creatively gifted from the mediocre.
In the end, it is not data or facts or insights alone that make our clients stand out, but how captivating and fascinating their story is told that is the difference.