Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ever wondered about all those fancy names that some marketing types insist on coming up with for our national teams?

And is it a good thing or should we be done with them?

There have been many. Some have stuck, others haven’t. There’s the All Blacks, Black Caps, Silver ferns, Black Sticks, Tall Blacks, All Whites, Black Sox and a plethora of others all too numerous to mention here.

Of course, the big daddy of them all was the time earlier this century when some nutjob at the New Zealand Badminton federation’s marketing department, passing him or herself off as a genius, decided in a bizarre moment of madness that it would be a mighty fine notion to name Badminton’s national team the Black Cocks.

What an absolute cock of an idea this was from the head cock of bizarre cocks.

One can only presume that this absolute cock of a whizz kid marketing type thought that National team were underperforming and making them known as the Black Cocks would be the only suitable punishment.

With four men and four women in the team, what does that make the female members of the side? And why black cocks? Surely a shuttlecock is white.

And considering the outrageously sinister racial connotations that go with the name, clearly things were not well thought out beforehand. Perhaps they should have stuck to calling the team the white cocks.

After all, if this marketing guru was suggesting that black cocks are better than white cocks then surely this is discrimatory towards white cocks and they have a case for laying a formal complaint with the race conciliators office.

Admittedly, some do claim that if you’ve had black you don’t go back, but, all the same, we do live in an era of equal rights.

Not surprisingly, the name was dropped. Sure, it got the sport some publicity, but, in the end, if an organisation wants good publicity, the best way to achieve this is for your national side to win.

Which leads us to the Black Caps. If ever there was a team that proves that all the fancy monikers in the world will do you no good at all, it is they.

For, ever since they inherited this tag, their fortunes have gradually evaporated. Yes, they didn’t do too badly from the mid nineties through until earlier this century.

Since then, though, it has been a slippery slide down an increasingly acute slope into a vast ocean of mediocrity.

They fill it quite nicely at times, too.

This means a slick slogan has been no match for a side currently corrupted by player power, big money and a unique ability to find new and interesting methods to lose games of cricket.

You see, a team can have a flash name, but if they can’t bat, bowl and catch as some have pointed out about the current side, then the only opposition they will be competitive with is the race to the hot dog stand at 2pm on the third day of a test match.

The desire to win comes from within oneself.

Not from within that sport’s marketing department.

There can be no substitute for a willingness to work hard. Hard work and practice lead increased proficiency at your chosen discipline. Which, in turn, will increase the chances of success knocking on one’s door.

Do invite it in, too, won’t you. You’ll find that it is much more pleasant and interesting company than a fancy, but, nevertheless, meaningless marketing name.
Just take a look at the crowd numbers if the New Zealand cricket team start winning consistently. It won’t be the fancy name that brought all those extra feet through the turnstiles.

Some will point out that our national rugby team are known as the All Blacks and not as New Zealand. This is true. However, what it does not account for is the fact that it is a name that was given to our national team one hundred years ago.

And there has been a tradition of success erected over that time. A culture that has young players entering into the All Blacks domain desperate to do justice to the black shirt and the history that goes with it.

That success is what has made the “All Blacks” famous and worth its weight in advertising gold. The All Blacks logo is internationally recognised because of those winning ways.

This is the problem for the likes of New Zealand cricket. They simply do not win enough on the park. Until they and others like them do, all the clever brand names will be of no use.

Maybe someone should tell that to the cock at New Zealand Badminton that turned a national team into a laughing stock.

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