I’m not qualified at all to comment on the detail of the All Blacks embarrassing departure from the World Cup. In fact I don’t even follow the game very closely. What I do know is that as a nation we are far too psychologically invested in the fortunes of fifteen sportsmen.
The NZRFU marketing machine has to accept full responsibility for putting the team on such a high pedestal, in order to feather its nest with huge sums in sponsorship. In fact I’m surprised the team members have time to attend regular practice sessions given the demands to appear in a wide variety of TV commercials promoting airlines, credit cards, sportswear, food and beveragesÂ and even underpants. As an “iconic” brand the All Blacks have over-promised and under-delivered. It all looks rather like marketing hype gone mad.
But what concerns me most is that so much of our national self-esteem hangs on the All Blacks performance. New Zealand has so much more to offer than rugby, hakas and bubbling hot mud pools, but we cannot seem to move beyond these cliches. It’s cringeful at times.Â
If our emerging technology companies couldÂ secure even a tenth of the media coverage and financial backing that the ABs get, imagine how beneficial this would be to the economy. What if our brightest science researchers could get proper long term funding sponsorship and didn’t have to head overseas to make a living.Then we really would have something to celebrate. We need some new heroes.