How NOT to use Richie McCaw in your advertising

Richie McCaw is a Kiwi legend. Since McCaw debuted the All Blacks have won seven Tri-Nations titles, completed three successful Grand Slam tours and won the Bledisloe Cup eight times (Wikipedia).

Oh and of course he captained the All Blacks team who won the 2011 Rubgy World Cup.

He’s a really great rugby player.

But he’s a rubbish actor.

When you hire a celebrity sportsperson to front your advertising campaign it’s a good idea to:

  1. Establish a connection between the person and your product

    Why are they selling me this? Do they personally use it? Does their sporting expertise makes them more knowledgable about this? Or do you simply want a famous face to help you stand out? In the later reasoning you risk having the person not the product be remembered.

  2. Play to their natural strengths

    If they’re a natural in front of the camera like John Kirwan then by all means put them in a starring presenter role. If not then find a way to incorporate them in a way that feels more natural.

Here’s what I mean…

1. How NOT to use Richie McCaw in your advertising

You definitely feel for poor Richie as he tries to front this commercial alone. While there’s a connection between the product and Richie (he owns a Versatile home), it’s uncomfortable viewing. He seems awkward talking to camera and doesn’t seem to know where to put his hands. I also struggled to believe that the home shown is Richie’s own which affects the product connection. An execution that showed Richie more naturally enjoying his own home or explaining what he loves about it (maybe as a voice over not direct to camera) would have been improvements.

But this isn’t a personal attack against Richie, more against the creative execution. On the other extreme stars in MasterCard’s popular campaign alongside a super fan “Tim”.

2. How to use Richie McCaw in your advertising

Richie seems much more relaxed playing the supporting role and not having lines. The contrast shows clearly that having an All Black promoting your brand isn’t enough, you’ve also got to have a sound strategy and solid creative execution.

Here’s another example this time with the same brand but two different creative approaches to using the same All Black…

1. How NOT to use Dan Carter in your advertising

Described as “slightly creepy” by most, this Daikin campaign featuring Dan Carter didn’t last too long.

2. How to use Dan Carter in your advertising

But rather than lose Dan altogether, Daikin released a follow up with a new advertising agency which played more to his natural talents!


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