Isn't the new World Cup Springbok Rugby TV ad brilliant? Uplifting, inspiring, exquisite!

- Fantastic CG animation, our team's kingpins socking it to all those critters who stand in their way, and the final brilliant payoff line - Game On! Fantastic!

A load of bollocks really. And bless the creators of the ad for making my brand bla bla point for me with animated style!

Two blogs ago, in 'Brand's What They Do to Cows In Texas', I bemoaned the banality of brand-centric thinking, which has seen the facade of what a brand projects become more important than the quality it actually offers. And if you've watched the 'Game On' TV ad concurrently with our recent Tri-Nations performances, you'll know exactly what I mean!

Call me a stickler for detail, but the big bravado of the Springbok commercial doesn't seem to be quite replicated ON THE ACTUAL PLAYING FIELD! Anything but. In three Tri-Nations encounters so far, the Springboks have looked like lost shadows of the fearless warriors in the ad - no strategy, handling errors and a style of rugby about as expansive as living in a cardboard box. I don't know - maybe it's easier to tackle a CG graphic than an actual person - especially if Peter De Villiers isn't calling the play. And our players are brilliant, even if their manager and his team couldn't be trusted to win an U13 tournament. But my point is this: We made the same kind of bravado oozing ads when we hosted the ICC Cricket and FIFA World Cups - becoming the first host nation ever to be eliminated in the group stages of the latter, and being summarily dismissed at the quarter-final stage in the former. Where was the bravado then I wonder? And I personally am now sick of all talk and no action!

I don't know about you, but I would swap actual on-field performance for Springbok ad bravado anytime - be far more interested in our team actually making a serious play for the IRB World Cup than smiting comics on TV - would believe far more in an ad that puffed its chest out far less and was backed up by true quality a lot more!

What makes me really sad though, is that within the borders of 'brand SA' this kind of hollow back-slapping tedium that's based on nothing has become the norm - the talking of a great game now more important than the playing of a good one - the pointing to a progressive bill of rights more important than the fact that enshrined rights cannot be accessed - the animated tackle given greater credence than the real one that prevents a try, wins the game, and maybe - just maybe - gives us a shot at a World Cup that right now we seem incapable of actually winning.

So shut up and play South Africa! The Game really is On. And like it or not, we can't just advertise our way to victory!

Views: 133

Comment by Socratis Avgitidis on August 16, 2011 at 15:51

You have hit the nail on the head. Advertising vs Reality . As a fanatic Springbok supporter I find myself taken in by this brilliant ad. The ad is so good that after watching it I grab the ball and run round my garden looking for Kiwis to steam roll. Thankfully I don't find any:). Week after week I grow in frustration, especially when I have to call my Kiwi and Ausi friends to congratulate them, proof that a Bok supporter can be a good sport. 

Maybe we should allow the advertising industry to manage the Springboks?

Comment by Strato Copteros on August 16, 2011 at 16:00
Maybe we should make Peter De Villiers head of marketing :-)
Comment by Socratis Avgitidis on August 16, 2011 at 16:02
More chance of a Loerie award than a WC title
Comment by Louise Brauteseth on August 16, 2011 at 18:02
Yes I agree, and your excellent two closing paragraphs really sums up some sad truths.
Comment by Paulo Do Carmo on August 26, 2011 at 14:33

Oh comes the spoke in the wheel. Perhaps it is commentators curse :-)

I totally disagree with your blog. Whilst the theme resonates reality, the facts are that the ad is not there to advertise Springbok, success and bravado, but to tell you to watch SuperSport's coverage of the event, inclusive of course of the Springbok games. At no point is the advert sanctioned by PeeDivee or the relevant powers that be. The fact that a broadcaster, eager to have viewership, in order to sell some valuable ad space and lucrative slot sponsorships, to those brands you dislike so much, chooses to evoke emotions of grandeur amongst casual viewers, is another entire different matter.


Lets get onto the rugby itself. Yes PeeDivee is probably a better entertainer than a rugby coach at this level and perhaps John Smith is no longer the best in his position and possibly even not the best captain we could put out, but the facts are as follows:

- We ARE the defending Rugby World Champions

- We - besides these tri-nations losses, where we fielded arguably below par teams and combinations of experimental nature, have an impeccable record on the field, and not so long ago were rated No1.

- We (since your blog) have beaten the All Blacks, fielding as close a side as we will field in the WC, and might I add, looked quite good doing it. Even the absence of the greatest rugby player of recent times at No10 for the All Blacks, could not be used to excuse the inability to respond to the precision kicking of Morne Du Plessis (aka The Mayor of Pretoria).

- We have a strong team with more experience, weight and consistent record than any other going into this world cup.


Yes, we are prone to handling errors. Yes, we do not play expansive rugby. Yes, we have PeeDivee calling play, BUT, when have we ever played expansive rugby - 4 years ago?

When haven't we made errors? 2 or 4 years ago? and for PeeDivee, we had in for the historic Lions tour and for the last Tri-Nations.


South Africa isn't actually saying much, they seem to have read your blog. Most think we have no chance, the players aren't speaking, the press questions the captain and Ard can't remember. Hell, even the bookies seem to have South Africa almost on a par with some Northern Hemisphere country who thinks rugby is a good sport to look manly in. The one person who is speaking, and on a limited basis is PeeDivee, who is telling all who want to hear, that this WC is going to be won on kicks.

Funnily enough the All Blacks have left a few hotties out of the squad because they give away too many penalties...they agree with Divee.


So on the whole, the advert inspires me to renew my DSTV subscription and Morne and Frans will kick us a long way...and Im making a big noise about it.

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