Phil Bilbrough: When rugby comes to town

Loving the RWC it just keeps on delivering for me. Not so all RWC advertising related though. With some exceptions RWC advertising is dreary, dreary and just a bit dull… Telecom could have done much worse than go with the “Abstain for the game” campaign. Imagine Telecom having the most exciting ad!!
The exception is Sky’s “Match fit”, TABs great big call ads and is this an ad? But there is still enough lame stuff to make the first statement of this post true.  Just as well NZers didn’t need much encouragement to go to games. Lets cast a lookie at all the RWC advertising. There is Mastercard’s sentimental priceless campaign (still around? OMG move on), DHL’s something ad (too fast to furious),  Rexonas’s Rituals (poke my eye out now) a strange Adidas ad that just clicks through to a Facebook page where you can upload your message of support and this is exactly what Telecom with their “Backing the black” campaign. There is Heineken’s blokely bloke ads and RWC’s own “I’ve got my ticket” ad.   Then there is a Coke ad. Please Telecom, bring back your abstain campaign.

Rexona’s ad is not about rituals its about bodies. Do women buy men deodorant? From this ad I suspect so. I can’t connect slo mo pre game really deep  rituals with applying deodorant – it rolls it on too thick for me. I hope the All Blacks’ pregame regime is less about smell and more about tactics, and game plans.

The Heineken ads annoy me because they have been annoying me ever since they dropped the ad where the war photographer didn’t use a telephoto lens – he just got closer. Now the ads take the piss out of the game and blokes that watch it, which is OK but they”re not funny and I don’t want to be like those guys.

The worst ads are the Bunnings’ ads (can’t find them on Youtube except for these guys). Are they about rugby of the RWC? No. On straight after the haka, Bunnings should have done better – though until on two separate occasions in two different pubs, when two different punters vocalized their hate for these ads – I had thought it might have been a good strategy – but hate is a strong thing to overcome.

Maori TV do a good promo and I think the best commentary and they remind us of who I’m talking about.

As much as I like the TAB’s ads, short funny very kiwi very memorable – I think that Sky’s “Match fit” series takes the RWC advertising prize – possibly one of the best campaigns ever seen in NZ – actually it doesn’t – this ad is the single best one of RWC 2011.


Phil Bilbrough is a freelance online advertising specialist who is blogging on the subject for Scoop at He can be contacted at

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