Super Rugby: Superbangbang rugby ad gets red card

By Ricardo Simich

Super Rugby campaign #Superbangbang has been given the red card - with women's advocates hoping its replacement #Superboomboom will send a better message.

The sexual lyrics and dance moves of last year's #Superbangbang campaign were slammed by woman's rights advocate Louise Nicholas.

The "dab and clap" dance promotion featured top Kiwi choreographer Parris Goebel and her dance crew performing to the Nicki Minaj, Jessie J and Ariana Grande song Bang Bang, which has sexual lyrics.

Criticism over the campaign heightened after the Chiefs' stripper-gate scandal, with Nicholas among the critics, saying footage of "women ... dancing on top of men" sent the wrong message.

Todd Barberel, head of marketing at NZ Rugby, said the #Superbangbang hashtag had been replaced with #Superboomboom because "boom boom" featured in the lyrics to the new campaign's theme song.

More than 30 people, including players, mascots, sponsors and broadcasters were involved in filming the ad at the ASB Showgrounds last Friday.

Barberel said the campaign aimed to highlight what was great about Super Rugby.
"It's colour, energy, pace, and entertainment - traits also reflected in the music."

Nicholas said she hoped the new campaign for the rugby competition would not feature sexualised content, including the song's lyrics.

"If it does it sends the wrong message to young women and to the players so I really hope they have learned their lesson from last time," Nicholas said.

"Rugby has had too much controversy, especially with the Chiefs last year, so I am hoping they have learned."

Last year Nicholas called for the scrapping of Mad Monday celebrations after Chiefs players were accused of inappropriately touching and licking and abusing a stripper they had hired.

Nicholas said rugby needed to keep that controversy in mind and become more family-focused.

She said she understood "what NZ Rugby wanted to achieve" with the #Superboomboom campaign but hoped they didn't "take it too far."

"They want people up and excited at the games, which is great and they will do it because Parris and her team are absolutely, amazing and fantastic dancers.

"I just hope this promotion is not going to have women dancing on top of men because it's not necessary."

Farah Palmer, a former Black Ferns captain and the first woman to be appointed to the board of NZ Rugby, said she hadn't been briefed on the #Superboomboom campaign but would raise it in an upcoming diversity meeting.

Farah Palmer.
Farah Palmer.

"I haven't seen it and I don't know what is involved but I personally hope as an academic, we are going to present a campaign that acknowledges and respects all individuals.

"I'd hope that it is tasteful and respectful."

Social media blogger Shannon Harris.
Social media blogger Shannon Harris.

Filming for #Superboomboom wrapped last week with Julian Savea, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Joe Moody and Malakai Fekitoa among a host of rugby players on the set.

Social media blogger Shannon Harris was also involved in the filming.

Nicholas said she would be watching out for the new campaign which would be revealed in the coming weeks.

"I'm hoping for the best, that it is exciting and fun but not sexual.

"If [NZ Rugby] hasn't learned by now, then what is it going to take?"

- NZ Herald

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