Why Zidane thinks like an advertiser


The French footballing legend and Real Madrid manager is famous for using his head, whether it’s nodding in World Cup Final goals, engineering winning tactics or head-butting Italian defenders in the chest.

And as the football season starts, I’m reminded of the article “Zinédine Zidane the manager is already outperforming Zidane the player” by La Liga cognoscenti and Guardian journalist Sid Lowe. In barely two years, Zidane has masterminded two Champions League trophies and beaten the mighty Barcelona trident of Messi, Suarez and recently departed Neymar to win La Liga.

“Don’t complicate it, don’t overload.”

He achieved such success by simplifying things. According to a member of his coaching staff, “Messages expressed to footballers should be limited to two clear concepts; beyond that you lose them. And as for long video sessions, forget it.” This approach was in stark contrast to that of his predecessor Rafael Benitez, whose intricate tactical analysis bamboozled his players and ultimately led to his sacking after only seven months.

The same can be said for advertising. The best ads always keep it simple e.g. “It does exactly what it says on the tin”. There are many adverts I see that try to convey multiple concepts, but here’s the thing – I don’t remember any of them. Not because they’re especially bad per se, but, like most people, I just don’t have the time to absorb more than one or two key ideas from the sea of ad content that washes over us every day. This point is superbly articulated by Dave Trott who references the elegantly entitled book, “Nobody wants to read your shit” by Steven Pressfield.

Personally, I hope you wanted to read this – and I could go on. But in the spirit of Zizou, I’ll keep it short and sweet.

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