Cannes Lions

Borrow The All Blacks

DENTSU, Auckland / ASB / 2021

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Case Film






There are 530,000 small businesses in New Zealand representing a whopping 93% of all businesses. They’re the engine room of the economy, accounting for 28% of employment and contribute over 25% of NZ’s GDP

So when New Zealand moved into total COVID-19 lockdown, they were all forced to shut their doors. The economy came to a grinding halt and a health crisis quickly became an economic one.

These small businesses, the lifeblood of the New Zealand economy were no longer able to serve the communities they were so invested in and immensely important to.

ASB Bank wanted to help kickstart the economy by helping small businesses get through these government enforced lockdowns and in doing so help raise their own brand love metric with the New Zealand public.

Application objectives: capture details of 600 small businesses through entry mechanic

2 point increase to brand love scores


We looked at what we could give to truly make a difference. Financial support? Sure, so we did that, along with the other banks. Then we needed something unique to ASB. We turned to our sponsorship portfolio and that was our ‘Ah-ha’ moment.

We had the All Blacks. The most marketable team in the world. A sponsorship worth millions. And a stand at Eden Park, New Zealand’s most famous sports ground. Could we use these properties to help? It had never been done before, they are both highly protected national treasures.

We sure as hell could. And we did.

ASB Bank dedicated the biggest assets they had in their arsenal to their biggest asset - their small business customers.

The biggest contingent of famous New Zealand rugby players ever assembled - All Blacks, Maori All Blacks and Black Ferns - were going to personally promote small businesses.


Banks had a crucial role in helping New Zealanders navigate this unprecedented time. Help pay their mortgages, their rent, their staff. But with every bank saying “We’re here to help”, ASB wanted to do more – to demonstrate their support in a tangible way that was ownable for their brand. So they looked ahead of the crisis, beyond just immediate financial help, to the challenge of actively kickstarting the New Zealand economy. In NZ, that starts with businesses - 97% of NZ businesses are small businesses. The challenge: How do we get this nation of small businesses back up-and-running again? And how do we do it using our ownable assets? We found the answer in our sponsorship portfolio.

ASB’s brand is warmth and innovation and this idea sat at the intersection of the two - with a helping of generosity, fun and fame. Definitely not your usual bank stuff.


A national TV, OOH, PR and digital campaign encouraged small business owners to apply for their own All Black sponsorship campaign. Each entry was analysed by a financial team at the bank and the legal and marketing team of our sponsorship stakeholders. 1000s of campaigns were then ideated. The information provided in the application acted as a creative brief. Consultation with the small business and the New Zealand Rugby Union refined the executions that included a digital film, OOH, bus or press ad, PR support, Facebook, search and digital spend and free targeted media placements.

But one lucky business, Coopers Catch, a small fish and chip shop, received a lot more - winning naming rights to NZ’s national stadium, Eden Park, becoming the first naming rights sponsor of the famous ground in its 117 year history. It’s name beamed around the country for the All Black’s biggest game.


1700 Small businesses applied

70,000 ASB Business Hub unique visits

25.8M People reached (both domestically and globally)

Over $3 million earned media value for Coopers Catch Fish and Chip Shop

ASB Bank recorded their highest ever brand love score since measurement began in 2012 (rising from 99 points pre COVID to 111 points post COVID)

Awareness of ASB All Black sponsorship doubled

117 total media items

47 radio items

13 print items

32 online items

15 TV items

10 international news items

Individual success for small businesses featured in the campaign varied from increased social and website traffic, to new user sign ups, to selling out of stock, to opening new stores, to serving record numbers of customers.

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12 items

3 Spikes Asia Awards
Borrow The All Blacks

ASB BANK, Auckland

Borrow The All Blacks

2021, ASB

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