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Sky TV caught offside with All Blacks fans

If you insist on making an unpopular decision then at least have the courage to stick by it.

Sky TV broke into its coverage of the All Blacks test to play an advertisement after the haka. Within 24 hours of the resulting viewer criticism they backed down, promising the ads wont air in the next tests.

Backing down so easily implied Sky knew the decision to air an advert would test the viewer’s patience. That signalled they didn’t really care too much about what the customers thought. Even worse, they hadn’t bothered to prepare an argument for why the adverts needed to go there.

Making tough decisions, including those that may be unpopular, is a reality of business. That’s why organisations should have a PR pro in the room when decisions like this get made.  They would’ve flagged the risks and sensitivities and, anticipating a public backlash, planned an argument and method to justify the advert.

People are passionate about the All Blacks, but they also get the commercial realities of professional sport. Sky advised viewers before the 2011 Rugby World Cup, saying there would be ads after the haka.  While frustrated, people seemed to accept it.

This time, it looks like Sky just broadcast the ad and hoped no one would notice.  And, when the pressure came, they kicked for touch when they should’ve backed themselves and held onto the ball.

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