The All Blacks are unleashing three versions of the new strip all in one go.
Adidas, the team’s kit supplier, have taken the hype and marketing of the new launch on the 8th November to a whole different level. They clearly want to sell a lot of shirts in next year’s World Cup year and of course at Christmas.
At next week launch The All Blacks will launch three new versions of their new playing jersey all with different price points for different markets. They include:
- All Blacks Supporters jersey: The cheapest one for everyday supporters to wear, well, every day
- All Blacks replica jersey: Wear what the All Blacks actually wear, for more traditional fans to replicate that feeling.
- All Blacks Performance jersey: This goes way beyond what a usual jersey has and includes many extras to improve one's own sports performance. A premium-priced item for those who watch and play and want to wear the best in both contexts.
But it doesn’t end there. The Maori All Blacks team is a selection of the best of New Zealand’s young Maori rugby players, effectively the B team, and they also have a new kit to be unleashed next week. There designers have used history to inspire their new kit.
The new Maori jersey has been designed specially to take inspiration from the relationship between the Maori Taiaha warrior and the Japanese Samurai. The design focuses on the meeting of the two warrior nations and pays respects to the separate and yet shared cultural elements the two nations have in common.
The Maoris will be playing Japan on their next tour. They were also supposed to be coming to Singapore but because our brand new Sports Hub National Stadium pitch resembles a beach they felt it would be too dangerous to play rugby on it.
Interestingly the All Blacks have taken a leaf out of Manchester United’s (MU) book by starting to play matches in other non-rugby playing countries. This week it was in Chicago in front of a sold out 61,000 fans. This is a country where rugby is only played with pads and helmets and they call it American Football. [Actually, we just call it "football". And yes, we know it makes no sense. -Ed.]
AIG happens to sponsor both The All Blacks and the American Eagles and they were undoubtedly the catalyst for the event, which was a one sided 74-6 thrashing. I am sure that they will sell many new All Black shirts off the back of the adventure, their first in 34 years.
Interestingly New Zealand had used the encounter to promote New Zealand companies and brands, wisely tying in the positive brand association of The All Blacks into doing business with New Zealand companies.
It’s this kind of joined up thinking which does set New Zealand apart to punch way above its weight. Let us not forget that New Zealand is a country smaller than Singapore and yet have the Rugby World Champions and most famous rugby brand of all.
The All Blacks and Adidas even went further than MU and created a limited edition All Blacks American strip with stars and stripes. It looks bizarre to say the least but does show a great deal of imagination and courage to change the sacred All Black strip. It is a very canny marketing and merchandising idea that I am sure will sell globally just for the uniqueness just as the Maori kit will.