Two cents blog

Is the NRL intentionally getting offside with fans?

by Alan Kewley on 23 February 2017

The NRL has taken a different approach for their 2017 season teaser commercial to sell advance match tickets. In previous years they would carefully ensure that each of the 16 teams received equal screen time. Fans of each club would see a glimpse of their team doing something spectacular as the incentive to be there live when highlights like these take place. The current premiers would be celebrated in the commercial but always with a balance so there was something for everyone.

On the back of Cronulla’s first ever premiership win in 2016 the first of this year’s commercials simply features their captain, Paul Gallen, responding to a famous quote by former Cronulla coach Jack Gibson. Referring to the Shark’s premiership drought Gibson once said that waiting for Cronulla to win a premiership is like leaving the porch lamp on for Harold Holt. (Prime Minister at the time, Harold Holt, disappeared while swimming at Cheviot Beach in 1967 and was never seen again.) Coincidentally that was the same year that the Sharks joined the competition.

In accepting the NRL title after last year’s grand final Gallen told the Cronulla faithful, “Turn your porch lights off because we are coming home with the trophy!” Vision of this moment, accompanied by porch light images and footage of Cronulla’s historic win, are all we see.

It’s fair to say that Paul Gallen and some of his Sharks team mates divide opinion among rugby league fans. This is especially true north of the NSW border where Paul Gallen is about as popular as a snake in a sleeping bag. Previously fined for offensive comments about the NRL administration and the 2012 drugs scandals it appears all is now forgiven by the game’s governing body. The NRL seems happy to leverage this dislike to inspire supporters of every other club to do whatever they can to ensure there’s no back to back success for the Sharks. i.e. turn up at games rather than being a passive supporter. Of course, Cronulla fans are revelling in their club being the sole focus of the campaign and good luck to them. Winners are grinners after all!

It’s an interesting strategy. You can check out the commercial here:


No doubt there are more inclusive commercials to come. But what do you think of this approach of seemingly ignoring the other 15 clubs to launch the season?

Alan Kewley is a Group Account Director at BCM

- Pete on February 23

I don't like Gallen. But I like the ad. Great way to kick off the season.

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