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ABs jersey change could 'backfire' for AIG

Published: 12:53PM Monday October 15, 2012 Source: Fairfax

American insurance company AIG's decision to place a large logo across the front of the All Blacks rugby jersey could "backfire", a Canterbury University lecturer says.

The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) announced last week their daring decision to place a commercial logo in the middle of the team's jersey and shorts.

University of Canterbury lecturer Ekant Veer said securing the sponsorship was a huge move for AIG.

"A few years back adidas tried to get the triple stripes put on the All Blacks jersey but failed. The All Blacks jersey is possibly the only adidas sponsored team that does not have the triple stripes, so having AIG across the shirt is a huge coup for AIG,'' he said.

''If the team is liked, the brand will be liked and this could be a very purposeful move by AIG which represents an industry that has fallen from grace since the earthquakes and lack of action by some insurance companies.

"In this deal with the NZRU, they are making an effort to draw closer to New Zealanders by sponsoring their home team."

However, the company should be aware the move may "backfire", Veer said.

While many people had accepted sponsorship as being part of modern sports, others feel the five year AIG deal was just a further example of how commercialised sport had become.

''It may backfire as some purists will see the logo as being not just non-traditional, but offensive and a growing sign that the All Blacks are for sale," Veer said.

"One could argue that the NZRU are making a good amount of money from the sponsorship deal, but they have to realise that shirt sales may drop over the next few years as some would want a pure All Blacks shirt - not one with a logo on it."

Already there has already been a negative backlash online to the jersey.

"Terrible decision ... Shame on the NZRU. No amount of money was worth this," one disgruntled All Blacks supporter commented to Fairfax.

The new logo will be seen for the first time on the All Blacks jersey and shorts in this weekend's Bledisloe Cup match in Brisbane.

The logo on the jersey is just under one third the size of the maximum allowed by International Rugby Board guidelines.

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