Wednesday, February 20, 2013

There's Money In Pine Trees

In NZ tv advertising, The Briscoes Lady seems to have been around forever but, when it comes to sales longevity, she's got nothing on Colin Meads.
Amidst hundreds of accolades, Meads has been described as "the purest and most ferocious All
"Pinetree" and SsangYong
Black there has ever been" - Donald McRae in the Guardian. Now, 40 years after hanging up his footy boots, the mighty "Pinetree" is the advertising frontman supreme.
While other All Blacks gradually fade away, this icon remains a sporadic constant on tv, selling everything from farm utes to finance companies.
Apart from the ads, there's also a public-speaking career that's always boomed. At 76, Sir Colin Meads is still on the road as a public speaker, a career that's become a way of life kept organised by his wife Lady Verna: "Once he gave up rugby I thought that would be it, but now he's busier than ever!" Meads does 30-40 speaking engagements a year. In 2011, he went to Wales and did 14 speaking spots in 18 days. He says he never uses notes either, instead saying whatever comes, for whatever duration the organisers ask.
Times sure have changed. When Meads wrote his first book, the rules of amateur rugby meant he wasn't allowed to take any money. He had to make a trust to remain part of rugby, and none of his family were allowed to be involved.
Can Colin remember all the products he's endorsed? Well, of course most NZers recall the legendary one for tanalised fence posts, showing Meads striding across a hill-country farm with a fence post over each shoulder, as if on a Sunday stroll. For the record, we've seen the Big Man in ads for baling twine, Remington razors, Nissan Patrol, Honda ATVs, Bob Charles' Deer Velvet, SsangYong, Vogel's Bread, lifejacket safety awareness, Provincial Finance, Mastercard, Revitive Circulation Booster, even Mainland Cheese. And while he doesn't have any ads in the pipeline right now, he recently featured in a short award-winning mockumentary about gumboots!
In short, The Legend is a highly respected NZ household brand... good on ya, Pinetree!

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