Simply The Best?

By - CTL
March 18, 2020
Simply The Best - Tina Turner - Rugby League

By Marcus Honesta

I must confess that I am not a fan of the Code of Rugby League. It would appear if the participants are not appalling the community with off-field betting scandals, Neanderthal nitwits seducing teenage school-girls, Clubs rigging salary caps, or players bashing Bali bouncers; they are offending the community with controversy over singing the National Anthem, and this was all before the season started. So you might understand why I have my doubts about the whole sorry mess. So therefore I’m not in a position to be able to identify the individual players concerned in the commercial produced to promote the 2020 season nor comment on their role in the activity.

I am however, without any question a keen observer of the media and a fierce commentator on advertising as it exists today.

There has been a certain level of hysteria in sections of the media over it. I am however not too keen to join the somewhat overwrought rant of certain commentators; predominantly found on the Sky Network good afternoon Mr Dean. Additionally I am most certainly not a supporter of the Creator of the “Where do you get it” campaign, the retired and often outspoken adman John Singleton who said: “Rugby League Central should be run by the Anti-Discrimination Board”.

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The NRL’s re-creation of the Tina Turner campaign, using images over the past 30 years, prompted Singleton to text: “Simply the Best has been Butchered. Great waste of opportunity. Terrible”.

Of two female players kissing at the end of a State of Origin match, Singleton observed, “Will help get Qantas on board.”

His comments are in reference to the two-minute brand film promoting the code’s progressive stance on diversity and inclusion by showcasing gender equity, indigenous pride and same-sex relationships.

Whilst in the normal course of events I’m not keen to introduce matters into advertising that do not relate directly to the product concerned, its benefits, or its RTB (Reason To Believe), we do live in a very different world than when the original commercial was first broadcast 30 years ago.

However the only way that a fair and balanced value judgment can be made of any advertisement is to take into consideration the following factors.

Does it represent the Brand values?

Is true and proper representation of the brand personality?

Doesn’t give me a reason to believe?

Is it a full and complete expression of the brand vision, and where we wish to be positioned in the marketplace today and into the future?

Without question, the original campaign was a great deal more masculine /gritty. It was without question a campaign based on sex & sex appeal, voyeurism and it was brazenly obvious. It was heavily waited to a “hunk image”. It was unashamedly masculine. It is brutal and hard-hitting, full of heavy physical contact, courage and speed. Obsessed fans showing little or no restraint, and of course its greatest sin – the competition was named after a cigarette. (the Winfield Cup). I love it!!!!

In comparison this year’s iteration is very different. Put side-by-side, today’s offering is “simply not the best”. It lacks energy… passion and vigour. It is a curious mix of nostalgia, gender equity, indigenous promotion and same-sex relationships and political correctness. Promoting Football seems to come a poor second.

It is a flat as a pancake from beginning to end. I think its single biggest failing is that it relies completely on historical footage and it does not celebrate the game today, that’s why it lacks energy. It is not assisted by the curious break in the overall jingle, at 35sec in, to find a young child doing… well I’m not sure what. She seems to be singing, standing in the sea, with no specific purpose, except break the flow of the entire edit.

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A great percentage of the fans that watch and support the game today were not even born when the original spot was launched. They do not remember the “super league wars” and probably the only link with the greats of the past is that many of them infect the airways with absurd observations and commentary on today’s game. If you don’t believe me turn on 2GB’s radio show on Saturday afternoons called “The Continuous Call Team”. It is an absurd combination of lavatory humour and excruciating butchering of the English language.

It is fair to say that one never sees the two commercials side-by-side, but alas this is the benchmark as to how they will be judged. It is fair to say re-makes rarely, if ever, live up to the original film.

However as I said earlier on, the only way that a fair and balanced approach can be made in judging any advertisement is on the following factors:

Doesn’t give me a reason to believe?

Does it represent the Brand values?

Is true and proper representation of the brand personality?

Is it a full and complete expression of the brand vision and where we wish to be positioned in the marketplace today and into the future?

Doesn’t give me a reason to believe? Unfortunately I think there is sufficient disconnect between the brand as it stands today, and how the advertisement represents it in the marketplace. The spot as it is being presented is a nostalgic romp and I don’t believe that the marketplace as it stands at this moment has enough of an understanding or interest in what was 30 years ago.

Does it represent brand values? I think it clearly endeavours to do so as the administrators would like to believe. Does this translate to the players? Given the continued scandals that seem to rock the code weekly, obviously the message is not getting through.

Is it a true and proper representation of the brand personality? I’m not sure I understand what the brand personality is today. I certainly did 30 years ago when “Simply the Best” was launched, it was obvious what the brand personality was all about.

Is it a full and complete expression of the brand vision and where we wish to be positioned in the marketplace today and into the future? From this piece of communication it’s very difficult to know exactly where it is positioned in the marketplace today. I certainly used to know. However, I believe this nostalgic romp has perhaps unintentionally done nothing except muddy the waters.

For this correspondent, I fear that the ad is an unmitigated failure and disappointing sequel to a great tv campaign legacy.

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