Couldn’t resist the Gladiator quote, but it’s particularly relevant to marketers now that we’re past all of the World Cup frenzy.
So, tell me: What was France’s Zidane thinking when he decided to head butt Italy’s Materazzi in the sternum? That this is a valid response to whatever Materazzi said? That he wouldn’t get caught? Whatever.
First, if you’re the star player who’s planning to retire after this World Cup, assume everyone is watching your every move. Imagine Michael Jordan thinking that no one would see him slug an opposing player in the vicinity of a basketball court during the NBA Finals.
Zidane’s human, you say? A momentary lapse of judgment? Again: Whatever. Zidane is one of the best penalty kickers in the game. But his red card meant that he had to sit out when his team needed him most.
So, what do you think the first thing that the French will remember about Zidane? Not only did he lose the World Cup for them, but he tarnished his career. Peep this quote from the New York Times:
What could have been a glorious coronation of the soccer career of the French captain Zinédine Zidane became a shameful departure Sunday when he was ejected from the World Cup final for committing an astonishing act of unsportsmanlike behavior.
Assume every day is your last World Cup. How do you want your brand remembered?
To quote another favorite film of mine: “Thus endeth the lesson.”