ASB Bank invites SME’s to ‘borrow’ New Zealand Rugby sponsorship  

(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

New Zealand-based ASB Bank has elected to donate rights attached to its New Zealand Rugby sponsorship to help 100 small-to-medium-sized businesses.

ASB has sponsored the All Blacks national men’s rugby team since 2015 and extended the sponsorship in 2018 to include the Black Ferns national women’s team and Māori All Blacks until 2020.

The rights will be passed on to businesses that bank with ASB in a campaign called ‘Borrow the All Blacks’.

The aim is to support businesses though the economic uncertainty created by the Covid-19 pandemic and follows the recent launch of the ASB Business Hub, an online resource providing SMEs with tools to help manage the pandemic’s impact.

Under the new campaign, businesses can apply for the opportunity to create personalised video ads starring one of 50 New Zealand rugby union players. The ads will be distributed through digital media, billboards and social media.

Tim Deane, ASB executive general manager of business banking, said the bank is committing a further NZ$3m (€1.7m/$2m) to create and produce 100 ads, along with the purchase of media placements.

Deane said: “We want a range of businesses from right around the country, but more important than anything else, we need to support those businesses that need it most.”

The businesses will also gain access to the services of ASB’s advertising agency, WiTH Collective.

The move comes as New Zealand Rugby continues to seek a new main shirt sponsor to replace finance and insurance multinational AIG whose contract expires at the end of 2021.

One option under consideration is to sell all the main shirt sponsorship inventory, from the All Blacks down to U20 level, to a single private equity investor or agency, which would sell on the rights to sponsor brands.

According to a report by the New Zealand Herald newspaper in June, the union has a proposal ready to take to market but has not yet entered formal discussions with investors.