If you’re any kind of Rugby League fan you’ll know that one of the greatest achievements of the football code was their highly successful advertising campaign for the 1993 season which featured Tina Turner collaborating with Australia’s Jimmy Barnes for “Simply the Best”.
Today, Foxtel is rekindling the history and memories surrounding the campaign with a spoof advertisement “Simply Obsessed”.
The advertisement features well known football personalities including Nathan Hindmarsh, Matty Johns and Peter Sterling who are all associated with the FoxSports brand and regular panellists. The lyrics were written by The Chaser’s Andrew Hansen who is well known for his involvement in remixing and culture jamming campaigns and performed by Jimmy Barnes’ daughter, Mahalia Barnes, to strengthen the authenticity of the advertisement.
This advertisement was produced in following the AFL’s season launch advertisement “Up There Cazaly” and draws on the same main ideas that the NRL advertisement does as both were written and produced by the same team.
This advertisement can be found on Free TV and online, particularly YouTube before videos. It is played mostly during NRL matches televised on Free TV as advertisers are attempting to draw the audience to Foxtel and FoxSports.
The target audience for this advertisement are those who already watch Rugby League as they will understand the historical significance of the song and the events surrounding it at the time. It is also targeted at those who grew up with the NRL campaign of yesteryear, “Simply the Best”.
The main idea behind the advertisement is to evoke the community feeling between fans that seemed to be present throughout past seasons. The relationship between the producer and audience is obvious when Clemenger BBDO Sydney executive creative director of the advertisement, Paul Nagy expressed that he is “…truly obsessed with NRL on Foxtel…so it was great to be a part of this important campaign. Hopefully this tongue-in-cheek take on one of my favourite NRL ads will help others with a similar issue find some comfort and understanding.”
The advertisement calls on its passionate fan base but plays on many stereotypes associated with being a devotee of the sport which may give the impression of exclusion. This is seen in the gender imbalance; there is only one woman “obsessed” with footy and she is working in a male dominated industry. Every other woman in the advertisement is unsupportive of the “obsession” with Rugby League.
In the past few years the NRL has been unable to expand its fan base in the same way that the AFL has been able to. This has created a “turf war” of sorts, being the two largest football codes in Australia. The campaign plays on the currently obsessed rather than attempting to attract new fans of the sport.
This advertisement is an example of the remix culture of today by reinventing an old campaign and the hype surrounding it at the time. Where remixing was usually a subculture of advertising and used as a way of furthering a cause including subvertising and culture jamming, we are seeing remix being used as a technique of mainstream advertising.