manning-face

I love sports, football, the NFL, competition. David is on the opposite end of the spectrum. One year ago, he famously asked “What sport is the Super Bowl?” Even though this Super Bowl was an absolute snooze-fest (unless you were a Seahawks fan or a Vegas Sportsbook), there were a few key takeaways…

From a sports perspective:

You can break every record and still not win

Peyton Manning and the Broncos broke many offensive records this season. Surprisingly, they even broke a few Super Bowl records: Manning has the most completions in a Super Bowl (34), and Demaryius Thomas has the most receptions in a Super Bowl (13). Now Manning has the record for the most playoff losses in NFL history (12).

Our takeaway: Don’t chase vanity metrics. Make sure you are focused on the right things and the bigger picture.

Team is greater than the individual

You had the single greatest player on the field (Peyton Manning) against a more talented team overall (Seattle). The results couldn’t be more obvious: 43-8.

Our takeaway: The talented team beats a superstar individual every time. Find a talented cofounder. Recruit team players over individual superstars. Team, team, team, team, team.

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth

Mike Tyson said it best. There was a lot of talk about the intense preparation that Manning and the Broncos went through leading up to the Super Bowl. That went out the window with fastest score in Super Bowl history on the first snap of the game. The official score card: first round knockout 12 seconds into the match.

Our takeaway: Planning is critically important to success. More importantly however is the ability to adapt your plan in a rapidly changing environment. Nothing ever goes exactly as you expect, and it’s how you respond after you get hit in the mouth that defines you.

Enough with the actual game. Here’s what we learned from everything else:

Think differently and you’ll find opportunity

Esurance == genius. Someone in the marketing department at Esurance deserves a mega-bonus. I’d image the conversation went something like this: “Hey team. I found a way to win social media, promote our core story and brand message, give away $1.5 million, and we don’t have to buy a $4 million Super Bowl spot.”

Our takeaway: Sorry for the cliche here, but THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX. If you do what everyone else does, you’re going to get what everyone else gets.

Don’t be afraid to take a chance

JCPenny took a chance. It appeared as though they got drunk and started tweeting nonsense. Turns out it was all part of their plan of tweeting with Team USA mittens on. Was it corny? Sure. Are there still people out there who think they were drunk? Yup. Did it generate a tremendous amount of publicity? Hell yes. Total marketing spend on Super Bowl ads: $0. Nicely done JCP.

Our takeaway: Put yourself out there and risk looking foolish. You don’t need a huge marketing budget to get noticed. Be creative.

Admitting is the first step

Radio Shack finally comes out and says what we all have known for years: they are a dinosaur. They haven’t been relevant in a long time. We applaud the effort to acknowledge their shortfall. Perhaps this is the last ditch effort to avoid a repeat of Blockbuster. Perhaps it’s too late and a waste of a few million dollars in advertising. Only time will tell.

Our takeaway: Know your strengths and weaknesses. If you try to hide and ignore your weaknesses, it will be your downfall. Embrace it, own it and improve it.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

There were quite a few Super Bowl commercials that were total bombs. I’m still trying to figure out how much yogurt needs to be purchased for last night to make any sense. Getting approved for a Super Bowl spot must be a marketer’s dream. So much potential. Then you realize you just dropped $4 million dollars (not even including the production costs) on a total flop. You’d have a better return funding 8 startups with $250,000 each, donating $1 million to charity and creating a YouTube video of you burning a million dollars in a moment of pure insanity.

Our takeaway: Don’t fall for the hype. Things are never actually as good as you’ll make them out to be in your head. Make sure you have some trusted mentors and advisors, AND LISTEN TO THEM. Don’t ever think you need to do something because everyone else is doing it.