In the history of failed advertising ideas, this would have to rank near the top of the list. A planned campaign requesting New Zealand rugby fans abstain from sex to help the All Blacks national club win the Rugby World Cup was scrapped after outrage from around the world.
The controversy centers around Telecom Corp of New Zealand's tongue-in-cheek advertising blitz that asked supporters of the team to "Abstain for the Game." After the New Zealand Herald ran details on the campaign, it went viral around the world.
Executives at Telecom abandoned the dog and pony show after a "torrid 24 hours in the glare of public spotlight." The company admitted it misjudged public opinion and apologized for offending some people. Facebook and Twitter exploded with anger and mocking of the company's brazen advertising move, which asked fans to abstain from sex for six weeks.
Check out the video featuring former All Black star Sean Fitzpatrick as he drives a pink bumper car in the shape of a fist, with a black rubber "pledge band" on a finger."
John Key, prime minister of New Zealand, said the foolish commercial is "living proof that not every advertising dollar is worth the money it's spent on."
Bloomberg reports the All Blacks are the world's top ranked team. They open this year's World Cup on Sept. 9 against Tonga in Auckland, New Zealand.