If there is a rise in people taking sick leave on Monday, the Super Bowl will probably be to blame. Airing at 10:45 p.m. on Sunday night UK time, and well into Monday morning. The Channel 4 adverts promoting the broadcast are using the hashtag “#You’re gonna need a sickie.” To enjoy all the action live, and party like an American, only one viable option is proposed, to take the next day off work.
As it happens, the first Monday in February is already renowned as being the most likely day of the year for employees to phone in sick. NFL Super Bowl fans in the UK who stay up late on Sunday have this statistic on their side. To help them out even more, a Super Sickie Service website was launched this week, to help plan the mumbled excuses and fake coughs, that are needed to make that call to the boss convincing.
The Super Bowl deserves a proper party, is the theme and the tag line of the campaign. The masterminds behind the idea promise those planning to bunk off, “Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.”
What not to say is “I stayed up late watching the Super Bowl XLVIII and am now dreadfully hungover.” The Super Sickie website proposes a selection of 24 hour bugs to choose from instead, complete with details of symptoms. There is even a downloadable hand-written sick note, signed by a eminent sounding physician, Dr Emil Pigskine PhD.
Some of these do sound a little suspicious, like Bibituria Hangovurus and Bacon Disease. If claiming the first of these, you would have red eyes and be feeling over emotional. Also suffering from fatigue, headaches and nausea. This nasty condition has its own dedicated Trust and their slogan is inspirational and uplifting “Together, we can get through this.”
Bacon disease is also a worrying syndrome that line managers across the UK will be hearing a lot about on Monday. The main symptoms here are a craving for salty foods, extreme dehydration, irrational decision making and a need to be cuddled.
Once the call has been made and the sickie successfully engineered, there are more tips for how to make the most of the day of recovery. From Duvet Day Music with a playlist on Spotify to the all important game highlights, replays, commentaries and twitter feeds, the Super Sickie Service will see sufferers through. By Tuesday, if all the advice is followed correctly, NFL fans should be feeling more like themselves and ready to face the real world again.
The creative team who collaborated on the idea said that between them they had had a hangover or two in their time. They said they were proud of their work although they might be less so if their own team start using it and they face an empty office on Monday.
Encouraging the entire nation on how to prep to pull off the perfect sickie might be said by some to be socially irresponsible, but Channel 4 would not want their viewers to miss out as the Seahawks go face to face with the Broncos. They are the only UK broadcaster with the rights to show the NFL. No more would they wish fans to miss out on the Red Hot Chilli Peppers at half-time, or Bruno Mars. It is too good to go to bed early. Parties will go on into the wee hours and the bleary-eyed on Monday will need to sleep it off.
Last year in the United States, Super Bowl TV viewers numbered 108 million, which was actually down from the previous two championships. It still made it the third most watched event in American television history. Now there is a commensurate surge in secondary devices and 2013 saw nearly 48 million social media posts during the game. That showed a drastic increase compared to 17 million the year before.
No wonder British viewers do not want to miss out on the action. To put it in perspective, the series finale of MASH is the only other show ever to have topped 100 million, with 105.9 million back in 1993. The moon landing had 53.5 million and Obama’s (first)inauguration 37.8 million viewers.
Super Bowl is huge, it is historic and perhaps in the UK this Monday, so will the numbers be for people calling in sick.
By Kate Henderson