Spontaneous Sparks: The Super Bowl Blackout

While the Mercedes-Benz Superdome went dark, creative sparks flew at agency offices across the country. Twitter was abuzz with jokes from individuals and companies alike, but a few fast-acting and clever brands stole the show:

Tide: “We can’t get your #blackout, but we can get your stains out.”

Audi: “Sending some LEDs to the #MBUSA Superdome right now … ”

And of course, Oreo: “You can still dunk in the dark.”

Ever since, these clever quips have earned their brands more attention than any paid Superbowl ad, and the media has heralded the creative teams responsible for their attentiveness and agility. And certainly, less than 34 minutes in an incredible time fram to take a branding message from concept to execution. A normal execution without a time crunch can take several weeks, even months.

But there’s an element that’s being overlooked here, an absolutely critical one without which these witty moments would have been nothing.

The element of play.

To get the kind of spontaneous sparks that not only fits a campaign but is fun enough to catch on at the level of the Oreo graphic, it’s got to be fun. It takes not just a fast mind, or strategic mind, but a playful mind to come up with spontaneous awesome.

So … how do you cultivate playfulness?

Take time. Just, in general, give your life the space to breathe and look around you.

Ask questions. Why? How? What if?

Explore. Pursue a passion or try something new.

Don’t limit your life by categories. No switching gears or shutting down parts of your mind—life’s not a file cabinet.

Play. Literally … play games, hit the monkey bars, go sledding.

These are the qualities that separate a good creative professional from an incredible one. It’s not something you can gain from experience or by working longer hours … in fact, working harder can stress you out and hinder your playfulness. But in the creative industry, this is the X factor—and it can greatly enhance your creative work too, whether you’re in the industry or just creating your own art on the side.


Tell me … what was your favorite play from the #blackout?


One thought on “Spontaneous Sparks: The Super Bowl Blackout

  1. An astute observation, Emily! I agree. Fun is the X-Factor and often missing from creative endeavors. Fun is way underrated and seems all but lost in American society. Work and strife are far more likely to be lauded than fun. But the fun is what makes life worth living. Why not have more of it? We love it when we see it or have it, but perplexedly downplay its value.

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