17 Aug 2011

Rugby abstinence campaign seen as silly

5:09 pm on 17 August 2011

Auckland University Professor Tom Agee says he would not have approved a campaign urging fans to abstain from sex during the Rugby World Cup, because it's silly.

The BackingBlack brand, headed by Telecom, will begin a campaign next week, fronted by Sean Fitzpatrick, urging fans to abstain in support of the national team.

Professor Agee, a marketing specialist, says the idea is a silly joke and unlikely to gain any major international attention.

He says it is on a different level to a furore last week, where publicity over the price of Adidas jerseys was badly managed.

Professor Agee says the New Zealand Rugby Union appears to like having the All Black brand in the media, and that is why it is probably supporting both Adidas and the abstention campaign.

However, he says New Zealanders will get the joke and it will probably feature strongly on social networking sites, getting the publicity that Telecom wants.

YWCA view

The YWCA is critcal of the campaign, saying the focus should be on promoting safe sex.

It says encouraging abstinence has little effect on pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection rates.

Spokesperson Sarah Davies says the organisation accepts it is a tongue-in-cheek campaign, but believes Telecom should be more responsible.