Breaking News: The BrandBuilder to boycott mediocrity
February 4, 2008 by Olivier Blanchard
The best comment about the SuperBowl’s chronically lame half time show I’ve read yet (from From: johnnynotsid on Buzznet):
Subject: HOW BAD WAS THE SUPERBOWL HALFTIME SHOW?
Don’t get me wrong, I like Tom Petty but good GOD. DO SOMETHING!
WHIP YOUR GUITAR AROUND! HEAD BANG! BREAK YOUR HIP! Do SOMETHING!
Worse even than Macca did. I thought after Prince we’d be doing better but no…… We’re so worried about another bare titty on a Sunday afternoon that we have to get young Santa Claus.
Next time: Get Radiohead (I don’t even like Radiohead) or Smashing Pumpkins (even with Zeitgeist songs) or SOMEONE WHO IS ESTABLISHED BUT DOES NOT NEED GERITOL TO PERFORM!
In Tom Petty’s defense (or Prince’s, or The Stones, or Paul McCartney’s) these guys don’t suck. they’re very, very good… They’re just… you know… not exactly A-list anymore. Or very exciting. This is the Superbowl, man! People want to be dazzled. They want to be entertained. They want to walk away saying “wow! That was incredible!” Well, they aren’t.
The once premier sporting event in the USA has sadly turned into a giant ball of mediocrity wrapped up in a very thin and overpriced wrapper of hype. My question to you is this: What does that say about our society? About Brand USA? About where we’re headed – politically, economically, culturally and creatively? If the Superbowl isn’t a metaphor for a bloated and mediocrity-embracing American culture, I don’t know what is.
Instead of raising the bar every year, why is it that even the quality of the Superbowl experience is suffering? If there is one sporting event we should do right, it’s this one. But we don’t even bother to take pride in that anymore. The Superbowl has turned into just another disposable product: Commoditized, noisy, overpriced and hollow.
Are we really that afraid of glimpsing another janet Jackson nipple? Must we sanitize the US’ greatest sporting event of the year to such a ridiculous extent that the Half Time show’s musical acts have to be in their… um… silver years?
Whomever books these acts should go work for cruise lines and retirement communities, and leave the Superbowl to real professionals.
While you’re pondering the whole metaphor concept I mentioned a few minutes ago, try this concept on for size: Relevance. How relevant are these musical acts? How relevant is the Superbowl anymore? (Not the game itself, but the ads and the show and the rest of the disposable glitter.) Perhaps more importantly, how relevant are we anymore, with our paper plates and our plastic forks and our ready-made Superbowl party platters, so desperate for entertainment that we will sit through the dumbing-down of advertising and the corporate castration of sport? How relevant are we when the Euro is stronger than the Dollar, the best creatives are moving out of the US, and we as a nation seem more concerned about accidentally glimpsing a nipple on TV than homeless families living in a van just down the road? How relevant are we when – as the only superpower left – our economy is crumbling, we have the worst public education system in the western world, our bridges are collapsing, we still don’t believe in Science, and we’re the fattest people on the planet?
We’re acting like a nation of tourists.
Just in case you skipped to the punchline, here it is: “Good enough” just isn’t good enough anymore.
Heck, mediocrity – in advertising, business, product design, politics, education, research, medical care, engineering, infrastructure management, entertainment, foodservice and customer experience, and yes, even your own job – just isn’t cutting it at all. Not in the USA. Particularly not now. We should all be embarrassed by how far we’ve alowed this to get already. It’s time to wake up.
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