The heroic image of Richie McCaw chugging an ice cold bottle of Powerade has been blamed for ruining kids’ teeth, but as Jamie Wall finds, it’s far from the first troubling endorsement in All Blacks history.
Richie! All this stuff about you being responsible for destroying a poor little kid’s set of teeth is doing you no favours at all, even if the claims are drawing a pretty long bow. Perhaps you ought to think about what you’re endorsing a little more, given that you’re flogging everything from overpriced headphones to prefab homes.
But then again, you’re not the first All Black to have made some questionable decisions with what you’ve put your name to. Going back as far as the 1905 Originals there have been products, investments and even political regimes that, in hindsight, weren’t the best to be associated with.
Cigarettes – Dave Gallaher. Yes, it was 111 years ago and the dangers of smoking were still a long way from being fully discovered. But I’m pretty sure these won’t feature too highly on the list of great All Black ad campaigns, given that there’s a statue of Gallaher outside Eden Park (sans durry in the mouth).
Provincial Finance – Playing a test with a broken arm is a ruthless achievement of physical courage but that doesn’t make Colin Meads any smarter than you or I when it comes to financial investment. Provincial Finance collapsed in 2006, leaving 14,000 investors out of pocket and making a mockery of Meads’ catch phrase for their ads: “Solid as, I’d say.”
Sexual abstinence – Sean Fitzpatrick became almost a parody of himself with the amount of things that he endorsed, so it’s fitting that the one he’s most remembered for is such a colossal joke. Telecom (now Spark)’s bizarre idea of having All Black fans keep their hands off each other for the good of the team has gone down in history as how not to run an ad campaign. Apparently ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi originally wanted Sir Graham Henry to front it. He’s probably thanking his lucky stars it ended up being Fitzy in the pink fistmobile instead.
John Key – Israel Dagg and Jonah Lomu didn’t even get paid for this but almost ended up in court as a result. Turns out tweeting your endorsement of the current PM on election day is an actual crime so Dagg and Lomu’s hashtag-filled sentiments were foolhardy at best. Plus, given the left-leaning attitude of Twitter in general, it most likely cost them a few thousand followers each as well.
Apartheid – Remember when the All Blacks ruined the Olympics? Playing South Africa at anything back in the day was rightly frowned upon, so why the NZRU kept tacitly endorsing an horrifically evil system of government by sending the All Blacks there most definitely falls into the ‘bad idea’ bin. But wait, there’s more! Just five years later they invited the Springboks to come here, despite the public reaction. EVEN THEN, a tour to still-very-much-apartheid South Africa was planned for 1985, which was stopped in court.
So Richie, there are a few lessons to be learned about what not to get yourself involved in. Maybe you could sign a deal with a toothpaste company to clear up this latest problem?