FORMER ALL Blacks flanker Michael Jones has questioned the array of All Blacks-branded merchandise that is available in stores.
However, those at the New Zealand Rugby Union have defended the number of products carrying the All Blacks logo and say low-cost goods ensured fans had access to the team’s goods.
Baby bibs, Easter eggs, watches, lunchboxes, jerseys, caps and beanies were among the usual array of official All Blacks products that are currently on the market.
While Jones understood the NZRU wanted to cash in during the World Cup, he felt things had gone too far.
“Those who the brand is very dear to will be concerned at the watering down of the heritage embodied in it,” he told the Sunday Star-Times.
“The All Black emblem certainly can't go on just anything, and I would think merchandisers wouldn't go as far as using it on every little item, but you would hope that while marketing opportunities aren't being missed, the value of the brand isn't being compromised.”
“You would hate to see the mana being sucked out of the All Blacks just so a window of opportunity could be fulfilled.”
But NZRU commercial manager Paul Dalton defended the range of products available and said low-cost merchandise ensured ordinary New Zealanders had access to All Black goods.
Quality was the prerequisite for any merchandiser who wanted official All Blacks branding on their products, with financial aspects considered after that, he said.
“It's something we try to live by, we are always concerned about the types of merchandise.
“Where they get made is a reflection of the economy, ultimately it's affordable. We are trying to ensure they are not tacky, and over the years we have improved the quality of the 40 licensees who produce items.”
How much the merchandise generates is a commercial secret, but he said it was worth millions of dollars to the union.« Back to Articles
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