The popularity of high-profile Rugby League convert Sonny Bill Williams appears to be getting too much for some of his peers.
The result is that a TV advertisement for the World Cup featuring Sonny Bill Williams has been banned by the New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association.
According to a report in the Sunday News, the commercial, made for Sky TV, broke the rules on how the All Blacks can be used by their sponsors as it focused too heavily on Williams and because of this it’s been red carded.
NZRPA boss Rob Nichol said the advert needed to feature other players more prominently.
”It doesn’t matter if it’s Sky or any commercial partner [of the All Blacks], when they put together TV commercials there are supposed to be three players or more that are shown,” Nichol told the Sunday News.
”That’s not to say they can’t do anything else, but if they want to they need to get the individual’s consent and that’s what we’ve said. We have said that we can’t sign off on it and you’d have to go and talk to Sonny Bill.
”It has got other players in it, but the cut of it I saw features Sonny Bill in it quite prominently, which means it’s more about him as opposed to the team,” added Nichol.
”If it’s more about the individual you’ve either got to get the athlete’s consent or you’ve got to have a deal with the athlete and that’s pretty common across most sports.”
Williams has made a huge impact in his short time in New Zealand Rugby Union and just completed his first tour with the All Blacks.
Everything points to him being in the frame for the World Cup.
Most other ads involving the All Blacks for their commercial partners will involve three All Blacks, if not more featuring in the ad.
This is done to convey the impression that the sponsor is sponsoring the team, not the individuals.
”They can put requests in for who they want for the adverts and the NZRU by and large handle that well,” Nichol said.
”They will work it around and quite often they’re able to deliver on that.
”But over a whole period of a year they try very hard to equal out the appearances of the All Blacks in different commercial activities and more often than not the sponsors are reasonably happy.
”The bottom line is the footage they [Sky TV] are looking to use and the design is pretty cool, there is nothing wrong with the ad, it’s just that it zeroes in on one particular player more than others and it’s around one individual player rather than the team.
”So on that basis we’ve had to say hang on a minute, that’s not what the collective agreement which governs the way they can use player imagery allows them to do.
”So they’ve got to work it a different way which more often than not means sitting down with that individual player or their representatives and seeing whether they’re comfortable or not.”