Blessing the Boot and the Spreading of Ideas

One day to go. One game left to play. One victory required to retain
the Rugby World Cup. No one’s ever done it. Tomorrow England could
change that.

It’s not something anyone predicted. Talking to ITV
after the quarter final, Jason Robinson commented that only thirty
people believed they could do it. Those thirty people were the squad:
the same squad that didn’t score a try against South Africa when they
met earlier in the contest.

The fact that this same squad is now one victory away from history bears testimony to the power of self-belief…

And
the sentiment seems to be spreading. A glance at the papers shows the
extent to which this other side of sporting performance – mental
training and belief – has come to the fore.

A profile of
Wilkinson in the Guardian quotes Steve Black, his coach at Newcastle,
who describes how “he has managed to keep going despite all the
setbacks and injuries because he has never stopped believing in
himself”.

But this belief is now spreading beyond mainstream
broadcast media, and that’s where it’s gaining real momentum. More than
a few viral links have arrived in Vizeum’s collective inbox over the
last few days, by far the most surreal of which was the Chipmunks
singing Swing Low Sweet Chariot which you can experience above.

Actually
that’s not strictly true, the most surreal was an invite to bless
Johnny’s boot. Virtually of course. As I write, his boots have been
blessed 208,384 times… you can bless it too, just click here.
The Chipmunks aside, what the bless the boot site demonstrates, is how
this increasingly emergent concept of the mental aspect of sport and
sporting performance can overcome a lack of flair, youth, and previous
results.

It is – of course – testimony to the internet that ideas like blessing the boot can spread so quickly and to so many people…

But
to spread they have to be pertinent to the moment, engaging, and
something that you want to pass on. All three of those things are
orientated not around brands but around consumers, something that
brands could and should consider when creating communications.

Of
course not all virals are positive. One soul within the Vizeum ranks –
who shall remain nameless – sent an email making reference to England’s
over-reliance on a kicking game. But that person is South African, so
is clearly getting more than just a little nervous about that
particular aspect of the English game…!

The England team’s
greatest strength is its mental fortitude; and it is this inner-power –
above everything else – that has carried them to where they now stand.

NB
just checked again, that boot has now been blessed 216,125 times.
Either I’m a very slow at typing, or that idea is spreading. Fast.
Bring it on!

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