The pay would have been good but Alex "Grizz" Wyllie is probably relieved he didn't get picked as the face of the doomed "abstain for the game" campaign.

The former All Black coach recorded a voice track for the much-ridiculed Telecom commercial in June, but the job eventually went to legendary All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick, a Herald on Sunday columnist.

"It was a trial I suppose," Wyllie said. "It was a tongue-in-cheek thing. I didn't see the script until I got into the recording studio. It wasn't the same ad as the one Fitzy appeared in."

Wyllie, who fronted a popular Rexona ad campaign in the 1990s, was offered a substantial fee for the campaign. Fitzpatrick's friend and agent, Andy Haden, said a number of people were approached several months ago but interest in the project tailed off.


"I think we were ho-hum about it. I wasn't surprised that it went very quiet."

Fitzpatrick, who appeared in the leaked adverts in a car shaped like a pink fist, is not keen to talk about his involvement, but told the Herald on Sunday what had been seen was the punchline in a series and had been seen out of context.

Several sources have suggested Saatchi & Saatchi global boss Kevin Roberts, who is prominent in rugby circles and also sits on the Telecom board of directors, advised Fitzpatrick to front the campaign.

One industry expert estimated Fitzpatrick would have earned close to $500,000 for the advert.

The $1 million-plus campaign, featuring a tuxedo-wearing Fitzpatrick calling for Kiwis to stop having sex to show their support for the All Blacks in the World Cup, was pulled after a massive outcry this week.

The campaign was dreamt up by Saatchi's creative team more than six months ago, said a source. A team of more than 20 staff at Saatchi worked on the campaign initially.

It is understood both Saatchi and Telecom are desperately trying to find out who leaked the campaign video to the New Zealand Herald.

But they might have other issues to worry about: another former All Black, Craig Dowd, ramped up the pressure yesterday, calling on a boycott of the telco.


He said they had made the men in black an "object of ridicule".

"People can do their talking by changing networks," Dowd, a 60-test veteran, said.

Coverage of the saga went around the world. One Herald on Sunday reader sent a screen grab from the Australian Channel 7 breakfast news show Sunrise.

It included a graphic of a sheep with a "banned" symbol over it - another sheep shagging reference.