The good, the bad and the cliche: brands step into the All Blacks vs Lions action—UPDATED

With the All Blacks vs Lions matches an occasion for both hardcore enthusiasts and fairweather fans alike, plenty of brands have been quick to grab a slice of the sport’s lucrative commercial pie. In honour of this, we present to you our completely arbitrary set of awards for rugby mania in adland.

Best Rally Cry

While Dave Dobbyn’s folksy ballad gets the lighters to come out and The Exponents’ singalong chorus remains a sports stadium favourite, few songs manage to embody the country’s collective spirit better than the simplicity of ‘Tutira Mai’. As a song about Kiwis coming together, the tune was chosen by New Zealand Rugby to get fans chanting on the sidelines and ‘out roar’ the Lions, releasing this video featuring former All Black turned police constable Glen Osborne leading the singing ensemble with his emergency guitar. We’ll take ‘Tutira Mai’ over ‘Jerusalem’ any day.

Best Audience Participation

Who says participation awards are naff? Not when it gets fans in the mood for a big muddy scrum, which is what ASB took advantage of with its first ever locally-produced Snapchat lens. The rugby-themed lens appeared automatically within the Snapchat app, and was available across the country for game day on Saturday. But no worries if you missed out: the same lens will be available for a further 24 hours during the second test on 1 July. Here’s Former All Blacks Keven Mealamu and Justin Marshall to demonstrate.

In addition, ASB is also helping to spread the goodwill cheer with a set of rugby ball payment terminals developed by Saatchi & Saatchi and Rush Digital to raise money for the Starship Foundation. The balls are passed around the stadiums at each match and are fitted with a Smartpay mobile EFTPOS terminal so fans can tap their credit card, debit card or phone to make an automatic $3 donation to Starship. When a payment is received, the ball lights up and the screen flashes with a thank-you message.

Most Likely To Be A Health & Safety Hazard

Speaking of tapping, Mastercard has brought back its overzealous long-time mascot, Tim, for some supermarket antics. Once again featuring Richie McCaw, the ad aims to show that every purchase with a tap of your card puts your town in with a chance of hosting a game to take on McCaw himself. However, we advise regular citizens not to follow the implicit advice of this ad and proceed to kick cereal boxes, chuck ketchup bottles or aggressively throw pineapples with hazardously sharp edges. Close call for Tim’s face.

Best Newcomer

Last month, Vodafone announced that it had penned a four-year sponsorship deal with New Zealand Rugby that will see the telco take on the role of ‘connectivity partner’ for the five national teams, including the All Blacks. Taking this theme of ‘connectivity’, Vodafone’s first major TV campaign since the lucrative partnership was formalised, shows how one family stays connected on game day, whether they’re at home, at the pub or watching the match in the stadium live. 

Best Use Of Sporting Cliches

Players and coaches aren’t exactly renowned for their originality when describing matches, regularly employing phrases like “the boys played well” or “it was a game of two halves” or “we do our talking on the field” to get away from actually having to do any real talking. And while Whittaker’s latest chocolate concoction seems a little over-the-top (protein puffs AND peanuts?), its rugby-themed spot makes the case for each ingredient, arguing that “creamy milk chocolate’s been a proven performer” and “banana hasn’t slipped up all year”.

Cliche commentary also makes an appearance in Whittaker’s follow-up videos. Most recently, referring to the All Blacks’ win over the Lions at Eden Park.

It’s also celebrating kick off with a whistle-version of its Full Eighty chocolate. 

Most Likely To Be A Bit Sexist

Speaking of cliches, Moa Beer’s play on cultural stereotypes makes its best attempt to resurrect Rod Derrett’s 1960s song ‘Rugby, Racing and Beer’. And while it’s made pretty clear that it’s “a cliche round here”, the 1960s seems to have been brought back in more ways than one with a notably minuscule female presence. How many women can you spot? Blink and you’ll miss.

Best Use of Colour Other Than Black

They say opposites attract, which is probably why Panasonic’s dashes of dissipating colour go so well with the nation’s iconic black. Produced by agency Lemonade and film company Merlin, the video shows Real Beauden Barrett annihilate a team of Fake Beauden Barretts to prove that ‘True Black Shows True Colour’.

Best Use Of Rap

It’s no Kanye West or Kendrick Lamar, but a bit of mediocre rapping never hurt anyone. From straight lines, bass lines, sidelines and ticket lines, Gatorade’s latest campaign—directed by Flying Fish’s James Solomon—does a decent job of mixing up the jingles genre.

Best Use Of A Real Lion

While it would be easy to give this the award for ‘Best Use of the Haka’ or ‘Most Diverse Cast’ (although ‘Tutira Mai’ probably beat it out on that one), Flying Fish’s promo for Sky Sports UK (also directed by James Solomon) gets kudos for apparently setting out across the country to shoot a real lion and a Maori warrior facing off one another on top of a mountain peak. Safe to say the video’s a cliche, but judging by the gushing reaction of British fans, sometimes cliches just happen to pay off.

Best Shady Putdown

Also featuring real lions, this simple social media clip may dwarf in production values compared to the rest of Air New Zealand’s much promoted Project Blackout campaign, but it’s nice to know brands can throw their fair bit of shade.

Most Subtle Show Of Bias

From tour bus to pitch, the video by Adidas Rugby and Augusto provides a unique perspective of New Zealand’s players through the eyes of the opposing team. However, the ad certainly seems to expose its Kiwi biases, with the Lions player at the centre of it all seeming to get quite the pummeling.

Best Hashtag

Keep your eyes on the ball—if you can see, that is. #shouldve #gone #to #specsavers

Most Minimal Use Of Black

Actor Will Hall and Bachelorette Matilda Rice strip down for Jockey to show just how much they support the All Blacks.

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