The 2003 All Blacks were a PR nightmare. Deans and Mitchell did as little media as they could get away with, and Reuben Thorne was not known for his charisma. This did have the benefit of a comparative throttling back of the advertising stunts.
There was this haka on the beach; appropriately led by Carlos Spencer, given what was to happen in the semi-final.
There was also an Irish style song called “A light on in the Parlour” but that has been eradicated from Google searches.
When 2006 rolled around Adidas were firmly in the driving seat and they had such a good idea it couldn’t wait for a World Cup year.
Infusing DNA into a poster is not easy. That is why people had to buy a replica jersey to be able to get their hands on the poster. And some people actually did that. It had a catchy name too; “Bonded by blood”.
As the Adidas spokesman said “”This year we wanted to do something different to reflect the depth of support All Blacks fans give to their team” as he revealed the expensive way that people could get hold of it. DNA infused posters never caught on.
That was just the start. Come the World Cup the following year and it just got bizarre. Of This Earth saw each of the 30-man squad carrying a capsule of earth from every New Zealand rugby ground that had produced an All Black.
Remember this was the most disastrously prepared All Black team of all time; the players had been wrapped in cotton wool all year, players were chosen on what kind of people they were, and the fans were more disconnected than ever.
The whole thing was cooked up by an outfit called 180 Amsterdam, the director was based in London, and the editor was based in the Czech Republic.
It is unclear how these clods got through Customs, or whether they ended up getting thrown around a Cardiff hotel room.
Next: A campaign so bad it had to be canned