Inspiring Rugby World Cup Ad from Steinlager Honours the Original All Black Heroes
Steinlager’s ‘Originals’ is an underdog story that mirrors New Zealand’s hopes for the Rugby World Cup 2015. Transporting us back to their first ever rugby victory in the UK – Robber’s Dog and DDB New Zealand tap into the purity, humility and authenticity surrounding the nation’s sporting pride and joy, their national rugby team.
Creating the 60” TVC was no small task for Robber’s Dog and DDB NZ; balancing national pride with a prestigious reputation globally, the message had to be crafted to inspire the country to believe again. With ‘belief’ as the core concept, the campaign is at odds with the bravado you might expect from the world’s leading rugby nation. New Zealand may be the favourites and reigning champions, but in true Kiwi style there’s no arrogance or fanfare in the sentiment. So the campaign looks to humility and authentic detail in the creative execution, every aspect of the casting, wardrobe and set design emanating period features and New Zealand’s approach to rugby.
Steinlager and DDB NZ settled on the 1905 original winning rugby team as the focus of their campaign. A symbol of belief for the nation, the ‘Originals’ were the first New Zealand team to tour the UK, losing only one in 35 games. True underdogs; the players were miners, farmers and blacksmiths, and no one thought they had a chance at winning against the United Kingdom’s finest teams.
Director Adam Stevens comments: “There is so much interesting history to draw on with the Originals. The story of the team from 1905 is such a great one. Regular colonials travelled for six weeks on a boat to Plymouth, away from their families for eight months playing 35 games and only losing one. It must have been incredibly intense having to play England at Crystal Palace with a crowd of over 50,000 that definitely weren’t chanting for the men in black… And to win 15 - 0? Amazing! We took it to them and the UK is where the amazing legacy begins. Being given the chance to put my own spin on this story was a real honour. It was also a wee bit terrifying, making a mess of the ‘Legend of Originals’, in this rugby mad country, would probably have meant exile!”
110 years later – the same humble belief is held by New Zealanders as they are about to face their next challenge on British soil. Coincidently the ‘Originals’ team has influenced the design of the 2015 All Blacks World Cup Jersey, which now features the unique chevron design on the breast. Both Steinlager and the All Blacks themselves have looked to the originals for inspiration and a motivation to win.
DDB NZ Copywriter Rory McKechnie, and Robber’s Dog Director Adam Stevens, both worked on the 2011 Steinlager campaign and when planning for the 2015 campaign, they faced the tough challenge of how best to follow Steinlager’s 2011 ‘We Believe’ campaign which was awarded a Cannes Creative Effectiveness Lion.
Adam comments on the succession, “I was stoked to be asked back, the previous spot was so much fun to craft and this had all the promise of something equally as emotional. It appealed to me as an All Blacks’ fan and as a director.”
However for ardent Springbok fans Shane Bradnick and Damon Stapleton - DDB NZ’s Executive Creative Directors on the project - it was with great relish (and a hint of irony) that they set aside love for their own team to immerse themselves in the skills and professionalism of their competitor. Tasked with the challenge of inspiring New Zealand through Steinlager for this Rugby World Cup meant the project had a fresh perspective on ‘Belief’.
Executive Creative Director at DDB New Zealand, Shane Bradnick, says, “It’s not often you have the opportunity to work with a brand that is a symbol an entire country believes in and rallies behind, what a privilege.”
Chief Creative Officer at DDB New Zealand, Damon Stapleton, adds, “Even though we’re South African, we’re also ardent rugby fans and we love the All Blacks because of what they’ve done for rugby. There’s a big responsibility working on a campaign for something as iconic as the All Blacks, past or present, and much attention to detail was required. Overall it has been a fantastic experience.”
Adam adds: “To avoid cliché we attached ourselves to contemporary authenticity but with a modern edge. I also think that the narrative made it authentic, leaving room for the audience and great writing. We added a sense of timelessness with lensing, lighting and in-camera special effects. This allowed room for abstraction in the narrative and in the cut. Not producing something expected was a mandate for us.”
To emanate the authenticity in the script, Robber’s Dog carefully sourced authentic period details, actors, costumes and sets.
Adam Stevens describes the detail in the set design: “We built a beautiful set. Chris Elliot the designer really pulled one out of the hat. We wanted to shoot the guys in an abstracted space, half changing-room and half bunker. This was all to be back-dropped by elements of authentic turn-of-the-century texture and plenty of black. The tunnel designs dipped into the classic London tube tunnel textures – simple and rounded. In the day the lighting was minimal, so the play of light and dark, combined with the graphic nature of the All Black jerseys, was a big part of the stylistic approach.”
Executive Producer at Robber’s Dog, Mark Foster adds, “The casting was always about finding odd head shapes and period faces – finding guys who 110 years ago could have been vying for a place in the squad. Linda McFetridge, who has strong ties to the Taranaki region in New Zealand, started looking at local rugby clubs and turned up some great faces. Our Originals Captain (Gallaher) was played by Hamish Mitchell who actually captains a Taranaki team of his own.”
Assistant Brand Manager: Benafsha Hajati
Managing Director: Craig Baldie, Ben Wheeler (Beer)
Senior Brand Manager : Michael Taylor
Art Director: Nicole Sykes
Chief Creative Officer: Damon Stapleton
Copywriter: Rory McKechnie
Creative Agency: DDB New Zealand
Creative Director: Chris Schofield
Executive Creative Director: Shane Bradnick
Executive Producer: Judy Thompson
Group Account Director: Scott Wallace
Planning Director: Rupert Price
Planning Director: Rupert Price
Producer: Samantha Royal
Senior Account Director: Jenny Travers
Music and Sound
Composer: Cam Ballantyne
Sound Design: Cam Ballantyne
Sound Mix: The Coopers
Editor: Tim Mauger
Post Production / VFX
Colourist: Pete Ritchie
VFX Supervisor: Stuart Bedford
Director: Adam Stevens
DOP: John Toon
Executive Producer: Mark Foster
Production Company: Robber's Dog
Category: Alcoholic drinks , Beers
Genre: Dialogue , Storytelling