A great advertisement from Telecom – “Abstain for the Game”

There’s a lot of noise happening about Telecom’s controversial campaign for the Rugby World Cup.

The campaign is called “Abstain for the Game” and promotes the idea that kiwis should give up sex during the RWC to show their support for the All Blacks.

Here was a Close Up interview with Kieren Cooney (Chief Marketing Officer, Telecom) that was very insightful.

I think this raises a question about good advertising. In fact, one of the public mentioned that there was “good advertising, and outrageous advertising. Both you remember.”

What is the purpose of advertising, running a campaign?

It’s to build hype, raise awareness, incite debate and get people talking.

What has the Telecom Ad done?   Exactly that.

Yes, the advert creates a polarisation of the audience – stingey, serious kiwis vs fun-loving, humourous kiwis.

The result of this advert is that the serious kiwis are outraged with the campaign. They tell lots of people that they are angry, the word gets spread.

And, the fun-loving, humourous kiwis see the ad and tell their friends how tongue-in-cheek it is and outrageous to suggest. The word gets spread.

After the rugby world cup, we won’t even remember this campaign. So, for this week and the near future all we hear is: Telecom. Telecom. Telecom. Telecom. Telecom. Telecom. Telecom. Telecom.

Good work Telecom!

A final comment about kiwi supporters…have some fun! It is possible that the All Blacks don’t win World Cups because they have so much pressure on them. Pressure is the killer of creativity and innovation – which our All Blacks are known for. I find it sad that a country only supports its team when they win – the All Blacks are not indomitable – they do lose. And it is unacceptable for you to cut them down when they do. Celebrate success. Revolt in defeat and I promise the All Blacks will win RWC2011!

Anyway, let me know what you think of the controversial “Abstain from the Game” campaign below…

7 Comments to “A great advertisement from Telecom – “Abstain for the Game””

I think Telecom did the right thing pulling the “Camp-Pain”

That’s all I’m saying, lest I cause offence.

August 18, 2011 Reply

All a marketing rouse you think?

August 18, 2011 Reply

If it was, then I don’t think the media will have appreciated being taken for a ride and the NZ public don’t deserve being ridiculed in overseas media. Poorly judged IMO.

Quite like this funny commentary from Dan Bain:


August 18, 2011 Reply

Isn’t marketing so people associate the company with something positive and want to have their product?
Im not sure whether that campaign is really helpful for Telecom in terms of image and sales.

August 18, 2011 Reply

Hi Lene, thanks for commenting. I would say marketing’s purpose is to grab attention – whether that is polarising, controversial or simple and good.

I don’t think advertising for Telcos is particularly effective in getting customers to change anyway – so the only change as a result of this campaign will be more “Telecom” speak (even if it is negative….notice how little people are talking about it now – over a week later…

I must admit, I have been rather disappointed in advertising in NZ. It’s not very creative or interesting to watch. It doesn’t surprise me that other kiwis hate advertising too. I look forward to a day when advertising is fun and inspirational to watch.

August 25, 2011 Reply

It wasn’t “serious” kiwis who opposed, it was “intelligent” kiwis. It was a terrible campaign idea – yes, people were talking about Telecom, but saying nothing good. They should have reversed it – they missed a great pun in “root for the All Blacks”!

But seriously, it was a terrible decision and a massive fail for everyone involved.

August 24, 2011 Reply

Thanks for commenting Fi. Not sure the use of “intelligent” is absolute above, but agree that the ad was controversial. I am an intelligent person and I certainly found the advert funny. Albeit, if the campaign was “root for the All Blacks!” then it would have been amazing.

I have a lot of respect for Kieren Cooney, he is a very smart, creative and motivated guy. I trust that he will bring a lot to Telecom in the future and hope to see it.

Note: I am a Vodafone customer, and have no ties to Telecom whatsoever – I am looking at this from an outsider’s view – although, an outsider named Justin Ryan Scott.

August 25, 2011 Reply

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