Best Branded Content: Duracell’s Incredible Story of the Seahawks’ Deaf Fullback

The Seattle Seahawks are national news after their victory in the NFC Championship game, which means the whole team gets to share in the spotlight that Derrick Coleman has been enjoying for the past week. As we learned through an inspiring 60-second video from Duracell, Coleman is the NFL’s first legally deaf player. This emotional piece of storytelling has garnered more than 7.3 million views and 77k shares on Facebook since it was posted on January 10.

As part of its “Trust Your Power” campaign, the Duracell video serves as an inspirational and emotional homage to the triumph of the underdog – in this case, Coleman, who has been deaf since age three. As luck would have it for Duracell, the athlete they chose to spotlight is now going to the Super Bowl. The company didn’t miss the opportunity to congratulate Coleman and his teammates via Twitter, and also share an image of the stadium Jumbotron, which featured the video.


As reported in Ad Age, Duracell Marketing Director Jeff Jarrett identified Coleman as the perfect player to profile for the biography-style campaign some time ago. “We loved this story so much we would have done it anyway,” Mr. Jarrett said. “In terms of the timing, with the Seahawks winning, we determined this was the right time.”

Over the last week, the mainstream media has picked up on Coleman’s story, including Good Morning America and CBS News, among others. That gave the video a second viral boost, and with the Seahawks now Super Bowl bound, Duracell can expect its viral spot to get a third wind.

Emotional Storytelling

The theme of the video is that no matter the odds or obstacles, if you “trust the power within” (that’s the tagline) and choose not to listen to the naysayers, you can go on to achieve your dreams. Coleman’s story shows that he was picked on or picked last, bullied, and teased, but he chose to tune out the negativity. Instead, he worked hard, and eventually forged a path to the NFL.

It’s a classic but powerful story, and gives sports fans and non-sports fans alike someone to root for. And it’s both exhilarating and inspiring, two of the four emotions that most strongly trigger sharing.

As The Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont put it: “NFL fans of a certain age probably haven’t felt this good about an NFL-player-centric commercial since the late ’70s when a limping, exhausted Mean Joe Greene chugged down a Coke and tossed that adorable kid his Steelers jersey.”

Now, the only question that remains is whether Duracell will find a way to get the ad featured during the Super Bowl. Super Bowl spots have been sold out since early December, but as Coleman shows, anything is possible.

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