Before their game against Carpi last night, AC Milan appeared to perform a haka - more commonly associated with the all-conquering New Zealand rugby side - and the reactions have ranged from disgust to feelings of emptiness at the world we live in.

Why? The dance not only looked wooden and awkward, it was also a marketing campaign for Nivea, with the pitch-side hoardings displaying the brand's new slogan, "Men, this is your ritual" (Uomini, questo e il vostro ritual).

And so what the All Blacks use as a call to arms - an ancestral war cry with centuries of history - Milan and Nivea turned into a brand-awareness exercise.

What's more, the haka wasn't even performed by the actual Milan squad - a group of actors were used instead. While we can assume they did a better job than the Milan 11 might have, this served to rob the ritual of yet more meaning.


When hakas are performed properly, they are supposed to intimidate one's opponents. It certainly didn't work in Milan's case, however, as relegation-threatened Carpi held them to a 0-0 draw at the San Siro.

Last year we spoke to a Maori cultural expert about what the haka means. We're pretty sure this isn't it.