Key Points:

Started by a retired preacher in 1876 Wisconsin, there are probably few brands more "All-American" than Jockey. All-American baseball legend Babe Ruth was one of its early advertising stars.

It's definitely old school, but that doesn't mean it's old-fashioned.

After all, Jockey has been able to get people the world over to think it's a local product, when it's actually one of the first global clothing brands, leaving Wisconsin for the world in the 1930s.

Jockey's bosses left Wisconsin for New Zealand last week to award Pacific Brands, which owns the Jockey licence here, its "International Licensee" award.

At the heart of Jockey's local success is the ad campaign featuring All Black Dan Carter - one that, despite the tragedy of the All Blacks' exit from the Rugby World Cup, is being taken up in markets far from the Canterbury plains.

Two of Jockey's top executives, president Ed Emma and international division president Tim Wheeler, told the Herald on Sunday that the Dan Carter campaign had gone beyond an endorsement from a local sports star. Along the way they have discovered in Carter a modelling talent that is now being put to work in parts of the world where rugby has little impact.

"Jockey is really known as an authentic brand," says Emma. 'Genuine Jockey' Dan comes across as very authentic, very real. You're seeing what he is.

"Our research has shown the Jockey consumer is very much their own person. There's not a lot of pretension there."

Both Jockey bosses are sure this is the first time in the company's history that a New Zealand devised campaign has had such an international impact.

"That's why we decided to expand his exposure beyond NZ and into Australia and into Europe, where people may not necessarily follow rugby and maybe not know who he is personally," says Emma.

"He's just a fabulous model. He just looks great.

"And we're very happy with that. From a model standpoint, for the package, for the brand, he is by far the best that the brand's ever had."

Neil Cameron, joint owner of Harvey Cameron Advertising, is proud of the Dan Carter Jockey campaign and says "the planets aligned" when it turned out the rugby star had all those qualities that Jockey international wants.

"Wholesome, healthy, certainly has not so far - and I doubt that he will - put a foot wrong.

"I would say he's been the best ever Jockey model. They love him and he looks fantastic. Some people work in front of a camera and some people don't - well he does and he's really good at it."

His rugby status is irrelevant in many markets, where he is just a model.

"Sometimes all the bloody planets align," says Cameron. "And in this particular case, - other than the little result a couple of months ago - it was good."

While the ad's success has brought great recognition to Cameron and the advertising team behind the Carter campaign, there's something more important - it actually helped sell a product.

"It's worked. You can have all the other things in the world, but sales have gone up and that's what we're here for."

Cameron quotes a line from advertising guru Kevin Roberts to sum up: "What's it all about? It's to help people sell stuff. We're not here just to make nice pictures."