September 06, 2010

Confessions Of A Turncoat

The Liam McCarthy Cup
Round here, we've just had the first of our two annual All-Ireland Finals; it being the first Sunday in September, it was the turn of hurling, with Gaelic football to follow in two weeks' time.

I had no vested interest in the game, but like many others was fascinated by the prospect of a truly exceptional Kilkenny team (some say the best ever to play the game) securing their fifth title in a row.

Usually, I side with the underdog, but this time was different. It seemed only fitting that this team would be the first in either sporting code to go beyond four in a row (I had been at Croke Park myself many years ago when a last-gasp effort denied a great Kerry football team that unique distinction) and I felt that the "Cats' drive for five" deserved to be rewarded against an unremarkable Tipperary team that weren't given much hope of causing an upset.

As I settled onto the sofa to watch the game, I felt that both my heart and head were for Kilkenny, and sat back to enjoy the supreme skills and inevitable procession of scores that would lead to the coronation of these kings of kings.

And then something extraordinary happened. The sliotar was thrown in to the usual opening melee and as the two sides locked horns and went at it to furiously gouge out that first score, I found my allegiance had shifted in an instant. Now, as I watched the commoners forget their supposed place in the order of things, I bayed instead for the head of the king, and cheered on the gallant usurper.

Oh, fickle sports-fan. As I watched this suddenly-remarkable Tipperary team turn the world upside down (they went on to win the match by a considerable margin), I wondered to myself how often our customers settle down to buy something in their heads, and leave with something entirely different in their hearts.

As brand-builders, we can trust too much in the supposed order of things, the logical outcome or proper result, whilst impulses much older and far greater than reason or due reward, wield their influence on our customers. In this case, the age-old instinct to root for the underdog.

Much better to trust to the heartfelt impulses, I think.

1 comment:

Paul Lanigan said...

Where's the "dislike" button?