Is this the holy grail of advertising in New Zealand?

Sporting power couple Gemma and Richie McCaw have teamed up for their first promotional campaign together.

A 45-second television commercial featuring the Canterbury-based pair going on an early morning run through Hagley Park and the Port Hills is set to air on Monday.

What are they selling? Turmeric. Well, a turmeric "sports complex" supplement, to be precise.


The New Zealand company behind the product, Good Health, claims it "helps support the body after a work-out, to soothe tired muscles and stiff joints".

Read more: Your Health: Why is everyone raving about turmeric?

Both McCaws have experience in the lucrative industry of marketing.

In 2016, ex-All Black captain Richie was announced as a "friend" of luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz.

The same year, his then-fiance, former hockey star Gemma Flynn appeared in an ad promoting the Bay of Plenty as a tourist destination.

Read more: Gemma McCaw reveals new career path after walking away from Black Sticks

Regan Grafton, executive creative director at international advertising giant Ogilvy & Mather, told the Weekend Herald brands used celebrities in advertisements to gain instant recognition and credibility.

Gemma McCaw in the new ad.
Gemma McCaw in the new ad.

To be successful, however, it had to be believable that the person would actually use what they were promoting.


"Sometimes you've got to be careful with products that are just jumping on a celebrity for that cut through. It's got to be a credible."

Mark Rocket, managing director of Christchurch-based online marketing company Avatar, which lists "influencer" endorsements among its services, said while celebrity endorsements could be a powerful way for brands to stand out in a cluttered market, if the celebrity was involved in a scandal their connection with a brand could be a PR disaster.

"Think Tiger Woods and rugby players drinking sugary drinks, respectively. The ethics of endorsement need to be carefully considered by all parties."

University of Auckland senior marketing lecturer Dr Michael Lee said brands often used the "Tears" model to help identify an ideal celebrity endorser.

The acronym describes the qualities of a person that make them a good fit for promoting a product - trustworthy, expert, attractive, respectable and similar to the target market.

Richie McCaw in the new ad.
Richie McCaw in the new ad.

He said the McCaws endorsing a turmeric supplement came across as authentic.

"They kind of tick all the boxes. [Good Health is] really targetting that slightly older demographic of professionals that are heading into middle age, where they really identify with Richie. They know they aren't at the peak of their physical performance anymore but it's even more important that they are active and stay healthy."

Read more: Richie rich: The value of Brand McCaw
The campaign seemed to have a different flavour than other brands - like Adidas or Powerade - that used younger sports stars.

Fleur Revell-Devlin, owner of Auckland PR agency Impact PR, said sports people were popular choices as brand ambassadors in the New Zealand marketplace because we're a sports-mad nation.

The McCaws appealed to a wide demographic and would have been able to command top dollar for any endorsement they did, she said.

"He and Gemma embody the image of a fun, athletic, humble, down-to-earth pair, attributes we traditionally aspire to as Kiwis."