The idea that those who are competing in international sporting competitions which define the pinnacle of their vocation should abstain from sex before matches is not new. However asking your supporters to do so is.
It comes as no surprise therefore to learn that supposedly tongue in cheek adverts, fronted by former skipper Sean Fitzpatrick and commissioned by sponsor Telecom Corp., which suggested such a thing have gone down like the proverbial lead balloon amongst All Blacks supporters.
The campaign, which was to offer fans who joined up a black rubber ring to wear on their finger, has now been ditched following a storm of negative feedback.
New Zealand online news site, stuff.co.nz, quotes some less than complimentary fans:
Wrote Chad Preece: “Go ABs. Goodbye Telecom. Might I suggest that your marketing department stops hanging out with their counterparts at Nike and Adidas.”
Bob Smith opined: “Maybe Telecom used the same dorks that designed their amazing logo to come up with this campaign.”
Brent Allan: “Well you got your publicity, but a fair amount would be disapproving. Telecom, you are an embarrassment to the country!!”
And Ahmad Rini wrote: “I’m getting mixed messages from the All Blacks sponsors. First Adidas told us to go f*** ourselves. Now we are being told not to?
As well as an anonymous worker at the company:
“I too am disgusted at this ridiculous ad, already in my call centre some staff have had to field calls from angry customers who want to disconnect all services”.
“Makes me want to work elsewhere, everyone is so embarrassed about it.”
It seems that, for Telecom, there is perhaps such a thing so bad publicity given the passionate nature of NZ rugby supporters.
Note: The All Blacks have not laid their hands upon the Webb Ellis cup, named after the boy who allegedly picked up the ball and ran, since the inaugural tournament in NZ and Australia back in 1987 and their return home from subsequent tournaments empty handed has not been met with stoical disappointment in all quarters. Not winning this one, on home territory, would probably not go down too well with the more foolish element.