Channel Seven has used a digitally enhanced version of the All Black haka in preparation for the first Bledisloe Cup Rugby Union match between Australia and New Zealand on Saturday in Christchurch, NZ. The free-to-air channel has doctored actual footage of the New Zealand rugby team performing their traditional war dance, showing Tana Umaga, Richie McCaw and Piri Weepu carrying colourful handbags. The ad begins with the voiceover: “Australia is about to play the toughest team on the planet, the fearsome All Blacks.”
It’s all a reference to an incident in a Christchurch bar in which then captain Tana Umaga broke up a fight by whacking his team-mate Chris Masoe with a handbag. The Australian press went to town on the story at the time. Other ads by Channel Seven show kiwifruit being squashed. In one TV ad an elderly woman drops a lawn bowl on a kiwifruit. In another Australian Lote Tuqiri crushes a kiwifruit with his bare hands and says, “After all, they’re just fruit”.
To get a look at the ads view Stuff.co.nz’s streamed newscast on the campaign.
Naturally, New Zealand responses are mixed. Some see the haka campaign as disrespectful and inappropriate. Others just smile and wait for the game.
Another haka campaign for Fiat Idea, produced by Leo Burnett Italy, gained less support in New Zealand. The traditional ‘Ka Mate’ haka, developed by Te Rauparaha, was performed by women in black in the TV ad for Fiat. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)