Thursday, July 23, 2009

All Blacks deserve better from NZRU

It never ceases to amaze that an organization so protective of its assets, silver fern, naming rights and the like, should be so free and easy with its greatest asset, its marquee team.

We're talking the New Zealand Rugby Union here.

Their team, the All Blacks, is one of the most well known brands in the sporting world – that's why Iveco wanted to be associated with them.

Their team has one of the greatest winning percentages of any sports team in the world.

The All Blacks are probably the most identifiable feature of New Zealand in most parts of the world. Even in the backblocks of the United States the All Blacks have been heard of.

So why, on your official website, in your dealings with the public, and in your own discussions, in-house and out, would you reduce the team to an acronym?

In this case it is ABs for the All Blacks.

Traditionally, the use of the acronym has been the mark of lazy newspaper sub-editors (a common trait of that particular breed) trying to get a headline to fit. And radio presenters, much as they might like to call themselves journalists presenters they are, are equally lazy and lacking in the standards that most sub-editors at least work to.

But, increasingly, the acronym has become part of NZRU-speak.
How can those elected officials and, more especially, those paid officials who spend so much time trying to defend the brand, the legacy, the jersey – and all the other psychobabble used to promote the quality that the endurance of the All Blacks represents – allow themselves to demean the very object that pays their way?

It defies comprehension.

Some might claim it is an acronym used with affection for the team.


It is jingoistic and patronising and totally unnecessary. Do the Australians call their cricketers the BGs [Baggy Greens], do the New York Yankees call their team the NYYs, do the South Africans call their team the SBs.

Not likely.

All Blacks they are, and All Blacks they should always be.