Bonded By Blood


Matt Roberts


There are many ways to have a successful sales promotion. There are the proven methods of buy one get one, free samples, and mail in rebates. These all work well, but to have a truly amazing sales promotion you have to think outside the box and try something different. However, just because it is different doesn’t necessarily mean it will be successful.

In New Zealand, Rugby is treated similarly to how professional football is treated here in the United States. Their national team is one of the most recognizable and most feared rugby teams in the world, with the nickname the “All Blacks” referring to their notorious all black uniforms they wear. Throughout the world the All Blacks are considered one of, if not the best rugby team not only currently but ever.

Rugby is a violent sport similar to football, but unlike football, they often wear little to no pads for protection. This lack of protection of leads to players becoming bloodied throughout matches, and thus leads many to consider rugby a “blood sport”. While this may seem like a bad thing, rugby players consider it a badge of honor when blood is drawn in a match. Fans also do not shy away from the uncommon sight of blood, and thus Adidas came up with the idea for the “Bonded by Blood” sales promotion.

Every year the All Blacks produce a poster for their fans, and 2006 was no different. They produced 45,000 normal team posters, and these were given to the fans as a gift. During the photo shoot for the poster, every member of the All Blacks had a small amount of blood drawn. Which was then combined, heat treated, and then finally added to a limited run of 8,000 posters. The only way to get one of these limited edition posters was to purchase a special All Blacks jersey, the poster and a certificate of authenticity would accompany these jerseys. The promotion was an immediate success, going viral and having spoofs made and even other companies trying something similar. Today these are still considered collector items and can sometimes be fond fetching prices of $400+ on the internet. This promotion helped boost the sales of Adidas All Blacks apparel by 24% and earned the agency (TBWA/WHYBIN) the top promotion award from the Cannes International Advertising Festival. Proving that old techniques mixed with creative thinking can lead to very successful sales promotions.



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