Super Bowl Commercials and Corporate Lessons
Like a lot of people, I watched the Super Bowl for the commercials. I really enjoyed the game, but my initial motivation was for the commercials. The last time I really paid attention to football was when I watched the HBO series Hard Knocks. I liked it so much I ended up blogging about the series and how team sports and corporate behavior have a lot in common.
Like many people, I appreciated a number of the Super Bowl commercials, but the one that I appreciated the most was the Hyundai 2012 All For One commercial. Again, corporate behavior and teamwork. If you haven’t seen it, you need to take 60 seconds to watch this.
The opening scene is a Millennial working in his corporate America 8 foot by 8-foot cubicle. The cube is decorated with hub caps and a lot of car designs hanging on the cube walls. This guy is obviously a car buff.
Within the first 3 seconds, he says, “This is impossible, it’s never going to work”.
I gotta say, not knowing what the commercial was about, or what was coming I had a “WTF” moment go through my mind. Hearing Cubicle Boy say “this is impossible” and “it’s never going to work” drove me nuts. I don’t want to work with this attitude. don’t want to hire this attitude. I don’t want the company paying money for this attitude. This attitude will kill a team, project or a company. Yes, I jumped the gun. They got me with a great set up.
The camera pans to a Baby Boomer manager, with a cup of coffee standing right behind the Millennial. The manager is a little balding, wearing a pressed shirt and a blazer. He is obviously someone who is of a different generation and as Cubicle Boy turns around he realizes he was just caught stating out loud “this is impossible . . . .” Cold busted, crawl under a rock, embarrassing, kind of caught.
The manager doesn’t scold, he doesn’t scowl, and he doesn’t raise his voice. He starts bee-bopping the inspirational theme from the movie Rocky. The rest of the 60-second commercial shows nearby co-workers pop up, departments, the entire cafeteria and then the entire office building joining the manager in this inspirational theme. Soon, Cubicle Boy is surrounded by a hundred or so co-workers inspiring him to greatness.The closing scene is Cubicle Boy looking up at his manager and saying “Let me give it another try”. The manager doesn’t scowl, point his finger or do anything negative. Doesn’t even patronize him with a pat on the back. He just gives an imperceptible nod of approval, turns around and walks away, saying hello to a fellow co-worker as if nothing ever happened.
Cut to the voice over. “There’s always a way, that’s just our way”. The Super Bowl commercial finishes with your standard end of the commercial logo with the caption “new thinking new possibilities”.
I love this Super Bowl commercial. Bravo Hyundai! I didn’t even know it was a car commercial for a while. This 60-second commercial had what I love a full-length movie! It had the setup, the build-up, a lesson, and a happy ending. It had your young apprentice and your old wise sage. It had theme music and it had the inspiration. The manager did everything right and it worked. I wish I had those chops. No lecture, ranting, no loss of faith, and no belittling. He came, he believed, he inspired. He took a very crappy situation, thought out of the box, and came up with a solution. This guy has game when it comes to Corporate Culture. Don’t get me wrong, this approach isn’t going to work for everyone, and I don’t expect the entire company to rally. This approach should inspire us to think differently about the problems presented to us at work whether they are technical or people based.
We were all hired to solve problems. We weren’t hired to confirm that something is impossible or to give up. We were not hired to belittle, scold or point fingers. Next time you think something is impossible or you are about to rant on someone you work with, think about other ways that could get the desired behavior.
Big Ups to Hyundai, the manager, and the Super Bowl commercial is the epitome of “nasty”
See you at the after party,
nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.
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