Telecom's chief executive Paul Reynolds says the cancelled Rugby World Cup "no-sex" campaign was an idea in development, and he had not given it final approval.
"The Abstain for the Game idea was never launched and hadn't finished any development. It was leaked," Dr Reynolds said yesterday.
"I had not seen the final ideas nor the research we were conducting on it. What we're talking about here is a leak, not a campaign," he said.
It had previously been reported that the campaign was due to start next week.
Asked by the Weekend Herald if he would have abstained for the All Blacks, Dr Reynolds replied:
"Hey look, this is a bit light-hearted, isn't it? The real issue is it was about support for the All Blacks."
Dr Reynolds said the call to swiftly pull the campaign was based on Telecom's past media experience, not on the backlash adidas received over its All Blacks jersey pricing.
"Taking the decision to just scrap it straight away was an easy one," he said.By Hamish Fletcher @hamishfletcher Email Hamish