The “Abstain for the Blacks,” campaign is set to launch next week and is run by the Telecom-sponsored official All Blacks’ fan site, BackingBlack.
The campaign is to be fronted by former All Blacks captain and 1987 World Cup winner Sean Fitzpatrick, and participants are to receive black finger-rings to show they have signed on.
Posters reading “Touch, pause and don’t engage” will be placed in bus shelters, according to the New Zealand Herald newspaper, which also reported the original plan included signs above urinals in bars and restaurants, urging men to “think of your mum in a bikini – Abstain for the All Blacks”. They were later cut.
NZRU commercial manager Paul Dalton said in a statement that the campaign was about Telecom doing “something fun”, and it should be “obvious to everyone that it is not to be taken too seriously”.
“Telecom and BackingBlack are great supporters of the All Blacks, and put a lot of energy and creativity into getting fans involved.
“Our partners manage their own creative ideas but we are in the loop on their latest campaigns, and as with other BackingBlack activity we expect this to be entertaining and get people talking.”
Telecom director of marketing Kieren Cooney said it was intended as “tongue-in-cheek”.
“We’ve tried to take a way that is fun and is absolutely tongue-in-cheek and is absolutely based on what, we think, is Kiwi humour …”
Newswapred thinks this is one of the dumbest ideas we have ever seen. But then again Telecom and dumb are often seen out on the town together.