We’ll be seeing a lot more of the nation’s rugby stars in their tighty-whities now that Jockey has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with the All Blacks and the All Blacks Sevens.
This is, however, not the first time that the American company has gotten behind the black jersey. Vintage YouTube footage of an old Jockey ad provides an interesting snapshot of how the concept of masculinity has evolved over time.
The announcement of the deal coincides with a new Jockey campaign that features the members of the respective teams clad only in their underwear for in-store promotions at Rebel Sport, Farmers and other independent retailers, as well as online on Jockey’s new website.
This sponsorship deal serves as a follow-on from the ten-year endorsement relationship that Jockey has had with Dan Carter, who will now shift into the new role of global ambassador for the Jockey international brand.
"Dan’s [new] role will see him as the spokesperson for the brand both internationally and locally. [He] will no longer be modelling in the Jockey campaigns, but fear not as he has handed over the baton to his team mates," says Jockey marketing manager Jane Lawry.
“The timing is right for the All Blacks and All Black Sevens to take it from here,” says Carter. “I wish them the very best in the new partnership and … I'm looking forward to watching the boys sweat, pre the Jockey shoot day."
“It’s great to see a partnership between a brand Kiwis love and their favourite rugby teams,” says New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew. “We welcome Jockey to our group of sponsors and we’re sure they, like all our sponsors, will be passionate supporters of our game.”
But Jockey may find it difficult to stand out in this well-populated group of sponsors, which already includes AIG, Duracell, Steinlager, Unilever, Ford and Adidas.
Frustrated by the lack of exposure it was receiving, Telecom pulled the plug on its All Blacks sponsorship deal in December last year.
“For Telecom, the All Blacks sponsorship didn’t work,” said Kellie Nathan, the former general manager of Telecom. “We didn’t feature strongly enough in our tracking as an All Blacks sponsor to get the attribution we needed to justify the investment. There are so many others involved who have done a lot of work to build up a presence. So rather than be one of many, we said let’s own something and develop it from the grassroots up.”
Despite the risk of grappling for space in a saturated sponsorship environment, Lawry is confident that Jockey will not find it difficult to stand out.
"With striking imagery of All Black and All Black Sevens players wearing nothing but their Jockeys, we are very confident this campaign will cut through and get noticed. Kiwis already associate the Jockey brand with sport, and rugby in particular, having seen Dan Carter star for Jockey over the last decade. We see this new sponsorship as a natural progression and expect to see strong brand linkage from our advertising continue," she says.
Given that Carter billboards previously managed to cause traffic problems in France, Lawry might be right in her estimation that Jockey will continue to get noticed.