Steinlager and DDB launch Alt Blacks campaign

Steinlager and DDB Group Aotearoa NZ have teamed up with the All Blacks to launch the Steinlager Alt Blacks: a team of 23 legendary everyday Kiwis who’ll be digitally immortalised in one of rugby’s most popular video games – Rugby Challenge 4.

The Steinlager Alt Blacks were announced last week with an integrated campaign encouraging regular, everyday Kiwis to take the chance to pull on a black jersey and take on South Africa in a live-streamed eSports match. 

The campaign celebrates everyday greatness and the spirit of Kiwi supporters with a virtual rugby team, an alternative to the world-famous All Blacks. 

DDB worked alongside Mediacom and Mango to launch the campaign, kicking it off with a 30” film that encourages Kiwis, regardless of their size, sex or total lack of sporting ability, to apply to be a Steinlager Alt Black. 

Mango enlisted legendary former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry to act as the Alt Blacks team selector and campaign spokesperson. Sir Graham helped launch the campaign with an Alt Blacks recruitment video and appeared on The Project, along with additional national media appearances across radio, print and online reaching more than 1 million Kiwis at campaign launch.

Off the back of the launch activity, thousands of Kiwis headed to the Steinlager Alt Blacks website to enter for the chance to join the virtual team.

Following the selection process, announced 21st September, 23 lucky Kiwis will be sized up for the creation of their virtual character.  

The 3D-modeled virtual avatars that make up the Steinlager Alt Blacks will take part in the Rugby Challenge 4 eSports game on 2nd October, orchestrated in partnership with Let’s Play Live, with professional gamers and All Black Jack Goodhue, controlling both teams. The game will be live-streamed on the Steinlager and All Blacks social channels, and the Twitch eSports platform.

Steinlager Senior Brand Manager Kerry McKenzie says Steinlager has been a sponsor of the All Blacks for more than 30 years and was looking for a new way to connect with Kiwis, particularly the growing number of whom love to play video games. 

“The All Blacks are the most famous and revered rugby team in the world, and we wanted to celebrate our longstanding partnership through something unique that appeals to a vast audience. The Steinlager Alt Blacks makes it possible for everyday New Zealanders – teachers, tradies, and everything in between – to experience the thrill of virtually wearing the famous black jersey.

“Just days into the campaign it’s clear how well it is resonating with New Zealanders. Having Graham Henry on board has made it even more exciting, and we can’t wait to find out who our 23 Steinlager Alt Blacks will be.”

DDB Group Aotearoa NZ Executive Creative Director Gary Steele says the integrated, digital-led campaign is a creative way to turn more Kiwis into national heroes. 

“We know many Kiwis dream of becoming an All Black, but for most of us, it’s just not an option. Through this innovative campaign, we have delivered something that inspires a generation of Kiwis to keep that dream alive – albeit virtually. 

“The campaign showcases our capabilities in providing world-class creative and strategic thinking to deliver on our client’s objectives. Integrated with PR through our collaboration with Mango and MediaCom, the results have already been impressive and we’re looking forward to seeing the final team.”

The campaign launched on 23 August with a multi-channel recruitment phase. This is integrated across AV, Digital, Social, OOH and press.

To apply to be a Steinlager Alt Black visit steinlageraltblacks.co.nz. 

Client credits: STEINLAGER

Brand Director – Beer: Jeremy Meech
Senior Brand Manager: Kerry McKenzie
Brand Manager: Lauren Dyke
Digital Brand Manager: Kate Butler
Digital Marketing Manager: Matt Monk


Executive Creative Director: Gary Steele
Creative Director:James Conner and Christie Cooper
Art Director:Joesph Jover
Copywriter:Jacob Newton
Group Account Director: Jenny Travers
Account Director: Kristina Lyndsay
Account Manager: Margot Ruldoph
Planning Director: Lucinda Sherborne
Planner: Natassja Cox
Agency Integrated Producer: Melissa Ching
Print Producer: Julz Lane
Mac Designer: Kathryn Hollis
Head of Digital Delivery: Johannes Gertz 
Head of Digital Design: Dean Pomfrett
Digital Designer: Kelsey Watson
Motion Designer & Art Director: Marcin Sulewski
Senior Full Stack Developer: Emmanuel Odorisio
Head of Motion Design: Mark Tretheway
Motion Designer: Ethan Wilson
Content Creator: Trent Hall
Post Production: DDB
Senior Editor: Mike Hammond
Audio Engineer:Milon Williams


General Manager: Sean Brown
Group Business Director: Kat Day
Senior Account Director: Max Burt
Account Manager: Jessica Morris
Digital Director: Jade Kaukau

Media: MediaCom

Business Director: Stephen Larsen
Group Account Director: Alice Franklin
Senior Account Manager: Amy McKinnon
Senior Digital Account Manager: George Coslett

Production Company: Flying Fish

Executive Producer:James Moore
Producer:Rachel Blimpied
Director: James Solomon
DOP:Drew McGeorge
Sills photography: Malcom Campbell

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