NRL axe multi-million dollar ad campaign for season restart

Riley Morgan
Sports Reporter
The NRL has pulled its controversial 'Simply The Best' ad for the 28 May restart. (Twitter)

The NRL has confirmed their controversial pre-season 2020 ad will be axed and a new campaign will help kick-start the 28 May restart.

The code unveiled its advertising campaign at the beginning of March and it was a throwback to Tina Turner’s iconic hit Simply The Best.

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Featuring some of the game’s biggest and brightest stars including Cameron Smith and Latrell Mitchell, the ad takes a look back at the game throughout the past 30 years.

Since then, Mitchell has found himself in hot water since since the coronavirus pandemic brought the NRL to a grinding halt.

The Rabbitohs star was caught flouting the virus restrictions.

NRL boss explains reason for axing ad

But the NRL claimed the ad’s axing was due to the changing global climate around the coronavirus, not Mitchell.

“We pulled the ad as soon as the season stopped,” Interim CEO Andrew Abdo said, according to Fox Sports.

“It was about getting fans to the game and now we have to work on a different message.

“It’s about getting the game back on. It’s about enjoying it in a different way and we need to emphasise that.

“We need to work on virtual tribalism. I can assure you it had nothing to do with the events of the last week.”

Abdo told the Sunday Telegraph the Tina Turner ad was designed to get people to the venue, while the new ad will feature around people watching from home.

Despite the NRL pulling the ad, there was no doubt it already divided opinion.

A number of prominent figures believed the ad was too ‘politically correct’, criticising certain aspects of the ad such as a long shot of Mitchell draped in an Aboriginal flag, Macklemore’s performance at the 2017 grand final in tribute to same-sex marriage, and the famous kiss between Karina Brown and Vanessa Foliaki after the partners played against each other in a State of Origin match.