Alt Blacks – Steinlager & New Zealand Rugby

In Q3 2021, All Blacks beer partner Steinlager targeted young Kiwis by offering them the chance to wear their country’s shirt in a live-streamed ‘match’ inside the Rugby Challenge video game.

Territory: New Zealand

Agency: DDB

Other organisations: Mediacom, Mango Communications, Flying Fish


Steinlager’s core market is a group of older, largely male ‘loyalist’ drinkers. The beer brand had never significantly managed to appeal to female drinkers or men in the 18-to-34-year old segment.

It was in an effort to engage a younger adult consumer base that its marketing team linked up with agency DDB for a campaign leveraging the brand’s partnership with the All Blacks national rugby union team (which has an incredibly broad appeal to Kiwis of all ages, genders, and backgrounds).


DDB’s idea was based around bringing a Kiwi rugby dream – playing a Test match in the All Black jersey – to life.

It teamed up with developers of the Rugby Challenge video game to plan a digital match between a team of ‘Alt Blacks’ – made up of regular Kiwis regardless of age, gender, or sporting ability – and South Africa.

All Blacks coaching legend Sir Graham Henry was brought in to front a ‘call for entries’ phase on social media, which encouraged young adults to enter online for a chance to be selected in the squad of 23 ‘everyday’ Kiwis to play for the ‘Alt Blacks’.

Thousands answered the call by sharing videos of their own personal skills to showcase what each could bring to the Alt Blacks.

Henry then selected a squad of 23, all of whom were virtually recreated as detailed avatars within the Rugby Challenge game.

The Alt Blacks were promoted across the country through an integrated ‘meet the team’ campaign phase that ran across billboards, social and mainstream media.

The culmination of the campaign saw the in-game contest take place on the same day the actual All Blacks played South Africa in the Rugby Championship.


The Alt Blacks game streamed to an online audience of over four million fans – more than the actual All Blacks game.

The campaign reached more than three times the total population of New Zealand and saw Steinlager achieve its highest brand awareness with people aged 18-to-34 in the past decade.