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HSBC and JWT tweak Aussie tail in new British Lions rugby tour ad

We’re all looking forward to the British and Irish Lions forthcoming rugby tour to Australia (it’s interesting that the Lions is the only time the British and the Irish play together) so sponsor HSBC has made an ad with JWT to celebrate the event.

And here it is; featuring Lions legends Willie-John McBride and JPR Williams (both Lions winners, only four teams have won in a hundred years or so), Jason Robinson and Brian O’Driscoll (who didn’t and haven’t so far).

JWT’s ad, ‘Legendary Journey,’ essays a Botany Bay theme to celebrate 125 years since the Lions first toured Australia (although this supposed event hardly figures highly on even the most devoted rugby fan’s radar).

Not sure I’d have chosen this convict-style connection; might rile the Aussies even more, who sometimes play surprisingly dirty when the Lions are in the country.

Back in 2001 English flanker Richard Hill was elbowed out of the tour (with Hill on the pitch the Lions won, without him they lost, including the series) and in New Zealand in 2005 captain O’ Driscoll was outrageously spear-tackled into the ground and out of the tour in the first minutes of the first test; which should have led to the dismissal of two All Blacks, but didn’t.

So I wouldn’t have annoyed the ex-colonials myself. Especially not as ‘global bank’ HSBC.

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ad campaign autralia tour botany bay Brian O'Driscoll british and irish lions hsbc JWT legendary journey Richard Hill

About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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