ASB backs the All Blacks, tweaks its convenient acronym

ASB is the latest brand to bask in the reflected glow of the All Blacks after its partnership with New Zealand Rugby was announced today. And, in celebration, the bank has rebranded for a day. 

As part of a promotion to mark the new multi-year partnership, the letters of ASB’s name have been transposed to spell the abbreviated All Blacks moniker for the day in nine ASB offices and branches and on its social media channels (it also says the website is getting a rugby-related rebrand, although that hasn’t happened yet). In addition, All Blacks Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock, Cory Jane, Sam Cane, and Patrick Tuipulotu have been filmed taking creative licence with the brand at Eden Park in a spot via Saatchi & Saatchi. 

The sponsorship also includes New Zealand Rugby’s World Champion sevens teams, the All Blacks Sevens and New Zealand Women’s Sevens. And as part of the relationship, ASB will be known as the official bank of New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks.

As it says on the YouTube clip: “It’s a partnership between two organisations with ambitious goals, a track record of success and a commitment to top performance. And just like the loyal fans of the All Blacks, ASB’s people are diverse and stretch from New Zealand’s largest cities to its rural communities.”

As per usual, no word on how much the sponsorship cost. But, given there’s no real estate being given to the bank on the jersey, it’s not likely to be $15 million a year, which is what the Herald estimated AIG, a ‘major global sponsor’, is paying for its five-year deal.

As yet, ASB hasn’t been added to the long list of sponsors on the All Blacks’ website. And, interestingly, BNZ is also a sponsor of New Zealand Rugby, although it’s involved in the Super 15 competition.

ASB signed up for a five year deal with NZ Football and gained naming rights of the premiership in 2011. When asked if this sponsorship—or its other sponsorships, such as tennis—would continue, ASB said in a statement: “The NZ Rugby sponsorship is part of our broader portfolio of sponsorships and we will continue to support a range of organisations and causes.  The details of these contracts are commercially sensitive.”

The sponsorship was unveiled at an ASB staff event at the Bank’s North Wharf head office in Auckland and was attended by All Black Brodie Retallick, All Blacks Sevens Coach Sir Gordon Tietjens and Sevens players Huriana Manuel and Sherwin Stowers.

The sponsorship term will see ASB backing the All Blacks as they compete for another Rugby World Cup this year, our women’s and men’s sevens teams as they go for gold in Rio in 2016 and the British and Irish Lions tour when they arrive for the first time in 12 years in 2017. 

Following the departure of Telecom/Spark from the All Blacks’ sponsors’ ranks, New Zealand Rugby has been looking for a technology partner but has yet to replace it. 

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