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7. Rebirth

Explore how the 'Rebirth' plot archetype can be used in commercial creativity using an example of D&AD awarded work from our archive.
The sport we play, rugby, represents us on a huge scale. So to do it and to be living a lie, I suppose became really confusing. Three million people of a nation all wanting to be kept captain all wanting to be me. Yet, me wanting to be any one of them three million people.
In the middle of a field in a big game or the heat of the battle, it is vicious.
A broken nose or a broken finger, it’s just a scrape. All you can kind of hear is the noise, of people being winded or bones being broken amongst these 30 crazy people, vying for a rugby ball. The battle I was going through personally compared to the battles on the field were probably 10 times worse. I was physically strong, yet mentally so weak and so afraid. I wanted to be totally open and honest with everybody, yet I didn’t want something so minor as my sexuality to define who I was. To hide that secret from the team was horrible. That team becomes like your family, the closest thing to you.
If the crowd and the fans and the people of Wales ever found out, then I always worried about everybody would turn their back on me. And they gave me something so positive, yet I couldn’t give them something so simple as honesty. I got to a point where I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t blink. I had this fear of the dark all of a sudden. So I needed, at some point, to find the strength to be able to tell the truth to people. And it was a moment when I played the one and only game I felt where I never was able to try. I’ve lost everything else in my life.
And now the one thing I’ve done is I’ve lost myself within this team. And when I finished that game, I remember just being unable to stop crying. I think it was like a sign of desperation. Coach had come along and spoke to me, and he went to look me in the eye. And when he asked me what the matter was, I managed to think to myself is that the door has been opened and there’s the slightest bit of light coming through. Now I either close that door, or I boot it open as hard as I I just take the consequences of what’s going to be on the other side. And I told him.
I didn’t have to say I’m gay. It wasn’t all about that. He knew. He said to me, You can’t go through this alone, and these people love you. I just felt this overwhelming protection from everybody. In my mind I built rugby as something that was so against everything I was that their reaction of just tapping me on the shoulder and kind of just saying, Let’s have a beer and get on with it, was almost in a way, it was like, is that it? Is this– seriously, is that all you’ve got to say? Didn’t you want to chat? And they’re like, It doesn’t matter. We want the Gareth Thomas back. We want the rugby player, the guy to lead us.
That’s what’s more important to us. I know I’ve come through the hardest and toughest of times. There’s absolutely nothing that could ever defeat me. Anything else that comes my way in life, if I can’t handle it myself, then I can just go back to my teammates and they can help me get through it. I’ve done something that not many people can do, and that’s, as a child, have a dream and grow up to be able to achieve it. And I’m very proud about my rugby playing career, but I’m more proud of the fact that Wales supported me to play rugby being Gareth Thomas. Being the person that I am 100%.
Never Alone
Agency: AMVBBDO / Client: Diageo
Graphite Pencil / Branded Content & Entertainment / 2016
Rebirth Recap
Rebirth sees our hero ‘falling under a dark spell’ – whether this is sleep, sickness or enchantment – before breaking free and being redeemed.
Two Minute Task
While you’re watching the video, think about the following:
  • What do you think the ‘dark spell’ is represented by in this example?
  • What do you think this story says about the brand? (We’ll be looking in more detail at branded content in Week 4)
  • What other examples can you think of that use this archetype?
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Storytelling in Advertising

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