I'm sure most kiwis will remember the disastrous Telecom "Abstain for the game" campaign, which consisted of getting poor Sean Fitzpatrick to drive around in a giant pink fist on telly, encouraging everyone in NZ to give up sex for the duration of the world cup.
Widely regarded as one of the WORST ideas for an advertising campaign in history, the concept cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As a result of a public backlash against the campaign, Telecom decided to put their efforts into a much more conventional, and family friendly "Backing Black" campaign, which has so far picked up a massive 131,000 followers on their Facebook Group.
Recently, as part of Telecom's new "Backing Black" campaign, Telecom ran an "All Blacks Anthem competition" on Saturday 15th October, which was won by a young kiwi father called Franko, with his song entitled "We are one", and who has been campaigning for his song to be an anthem for the All Blacks for several months.
When Franko won Backing Black's song competition, he asked Telecom's representative at the venue, James Sommersett, if his song could possibly be posted to the Backing Black Facebook group since he had won the competition. Franko was told by Telecom that they would "think about it".
Today, on the 20th October, 5 days after Franko won Backing Black's "Anthem" competition with his song "We are one", Telecom released a video advertisement on their Facebook group ALSO called "We are one - backing black" that was immediately "liked" by around 500 people. The imagery in the Telecom video is of historic moments in rugby, inspirational quotes, and backed by a random classical music track. Quotes include "United together", "One Nation", "One land", "One voice".
All of this is fine and dandy, except that a LOT about Telecom's video (including the name), is VERY reminiscent in concept and execution to Franko's "We are one" video, including the lyrics in his song.
After people started making comments to this effect on the "Backing Black Facebook page", that their new "we are one - backing black" video reminded them STRONGLY of Franko's song, Telecom quickly changed the name of the video to "We are backing black", instead of "we are one - we are backing black", although the attached screenshot still shows the old title, as it was posted.
I should mention, by way of disclaimer, that I do have a personal interest in this matter, because I gave Franko the money to produce his "We are One" video, as I was inspired by his song, and by his desire to create a song that truly brought all New Zealanders together in sporting events such as the RWC, The America's cup, and the upcoming 2012 olympics. There are people who have cried upon first watching Franko's video, and I am proud to have been able to help make it happen, as it is a great song, and has been a labour of love for Franko.
Now, it's nice of Telecom to voluntarily change the name of their inspirational video, but wouldn't it be better if they had simply promoted Franko's video, since he DID win their OWN Talent competition with HIS song? Perhaps Telecom's marketing department has correctly deduced as a result of their disastrous "Abstain for the game" campaign, that they should NOT use their own ideas under ANY circumstances.
Like Adidas, charging people for over-priced jerseys, Telecom might do well to learn that brand goodwill comes from actually walking the walk, not from your marketing team taking the key elements from a young father's song who wins your talent quest, because they can't come up with anything original.
I'm sure Franko would be interested to hear from Telecom on this matter...