Often people think challenger brands all take the classic David vs. Goliath/ Feisty Underdog stance, which, as Adam explains in this article, is not the really the case any more.
However, the other night I went to see Tunisia Vs. USA in the Olympics Basketball and it definitely fitted that stance. Sadly this time round Goliath (Team USA) toyed with David (Team Tunisia) for a little bit before completely obliterating them. But there was a moment were almost everyone was routing for the underdog, almost everyone in the audience wanted to be able to go home and say “I was at the game where little Team Tunisia, at their first olympic basketball game ever, beat the unbreakable (mainly NBA player) Team USA.”
It got me thinking about what makes a really great Olympic story.
Pub quiz time:
1) Who won the Bobsleigh in Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988?
2) Who won the 100m freestyle swimming in Sydney in 2000?
But if you google ‘Bobsleigh 1988′ all but one of the search results on the first page is The Jamaican bobsleigh team. Anyone not heard of the film ‘Cool Runnings’? A team of Jamaicans who have never even seen snow, with a team of not-quite Olympic material young guys… one of them has a lucky egg… crash and then carry their bobsleigh over the finish line on their shoulders.
2) Pieter van den Hoogenband, Netherlands.
I’m imagining unless you are a super fan of 100m freestyle or you know Hoogenband you may not remember his name. If I say Eric ‘the Eel’ Moussambani, I’m sure that’s far more likely to ring some bells. Eric the Eel who swam his heat of the 100m freestyle in 1:52.72. A time more than twice that of his faster competitors, and outside even the 200m world record. However, everyone remembers how he set a new personal best and Equatoguinean national record, having only learnt to swim a couple of months prior to the event. And everyone watched and applauded harder than they did for Peter van den Hoogenband, who actually won.
As Challenger Brand we might not always be able to ‘win’ against the market leader. But by using what they had to create a compelling narrative, the stories we engage with and remember) the Jamaican bobsleigh tem and Eric the Eel remind us that you don’t have to win to make the most impact.
This doesn’t mean we are not crazy pleased about team GB’s medal efforts thus far.
Thumbnail image - Photo by Alexis Amezquita