Often Immitated Never Duplicated: Why There Will Never Be Another


When Bernie Pitzel was brought back in as Gatorade’s creative chief to introduce Michael Jordan and Gatorade to the world, he instantly found out that the first commercials had already been approved. One played off the true story of a kid in Yugoslavia who wrote a letter addressed to “Michael Jordan. USA.” and it actually arrived in the hands of Gatorade’s spokesperson. Another approved commercial showed a highlight reel of Michael dominating opponents and doing his unbelievable dunks with his “signature” tongue hanging out.

“I was totally stunned,” Pitzel said. “It was just a highlight reel — a video of him dunking — and Nike had done that over and over again. I was thinking, ‘I came over here to do this and this is what we did?’”

Pitzel had three days, with no guarantees, to come up with something different then what was seemly approved already. After a day of writer’s block, an evening showing of the Disney classic The Jungle Book with his son triggered the inspiration. The “Ah ha” moment came after hearing the Monkey Song “I Wan’na Be Like You,” in the film.

When Pitzel came up with the following  jingle he knew, as he puts it, “a million people wanted to be like Mike.” And he was right.

“Sometimes I dream, That he is me

You’ve got to see that’s how I dream to be

I dream I move, I dream I groove

Like Mike, If I could Be Like Mike

Again I try, Just need to fly

For just one day if I could be that way

I dream I move, I dream I groove

Like Mike, If I could Be Like Mike”

-Bernie Pitzel

Written for Gatorade commercial featuring Michael Jordan[1]

From sports heroes to movie stars, world leaders to precedent setters we all want to emulate and be like Mike, Beyonce or George (Clooney or course). A chance to be like those who seemingly took matters into their own hands and rewrote the history books is something many of us play out in our minds.

How many times have you gone to bed dreaming you could be like your hero?

But have you thought about what your role models went through to get where they are? Have you considered all the sacrifices they’ve had to make on the journey? Usually tucked away beneath all the success, financial gain or notoriety is the forgotten back-story along the road to perceived greatness.

Have you also considered where you are in your life? What level of expertise or experience you have in your discipline? What your goals are? What you’re willing to exchange or give for whatever it is you seek?

It’s one thing to try and model somebody’s behavior, systems or processes for achievement and apply it to you.  It’s  a completely different thing t0 try and be somebody else. Most people get caught up trying to be  the latter – someone else.  Doing so puts unrealistic expectations on the results.  That’s why so many who take a How-To course or read a How-To book fail to succeed with the information they’re given. They try to be someone else instead of modeling the skills of others and applying them in their own way.

We need to bridge this gap.

Understanding the models of success from Mike, Beyonce or George is only the first part. The second and most important is you must learn to create your own implementation strategy to become  the next great basketball player,  singer, actor or whatever you want to be. Only you can do it because there will truly never be another.


[1] How Gatorade Turned the Science of Sweat into a Cultural Phenomenon, Darren Rovell.

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