Tina Turner changed Aussie advertising forever

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SYDNEY, Today: It has been 28 years since Tina Turner featured in her final AU campaign as the soundtrack of rugby league – a campaign that changed the face of TV & sports advertising in Australia and NZ. News of her death has now cast a dark pall over the sector.

Tina Turner and rugby league was an enduring partnership that changed the face of the game. Australian fans fell in love with her after her collaboration helped cleanse the game’s image and instill in it a true sense of worth.

The singer starred in the promotion of the Winfield Cup with her hits What You Get Is What You See and Simply The Best from 1989 to 1995.

Rugby league went from being a game to a business and the impact Turner had on that cannot be understated. Tina Turner changed NRL promos and advertising forever.

A B&T reporter wrote: “Attempting to change the image of the sport as barbaric and brutal, the songs were an attempt to woo female supporters, softening and glamourising the game’s stars, and making the game sexy.

“Her impact on AUNZ sports marketing and advertising – has been immense.”

“League was showcased in a stunning light, a marked change from the gruff and detached ads of years gone by that were devoid of creativity and ambition. Tina Turner was cool. Her songs were cool. Now rugby league was cool.

“Even the most optimistic of rugby league powerbrokers at the time, though, could not have envisaged the success the Turner campaigns would have – or the legacy they would create.”

The game in the late 1970s and early 1980s was a semi-professional one, a game known for its abject violence and amateur administration and blinkered worldview.

B&T: “Turner changed that and by the mid-1990s, rugby league had modernised.

“The game now had wide-reaching commercial appeal. Stars of the game carried themselves as such. Skill and speed were now prized as much as toughness and aggression. Crowds were up and significantly more diverse. Television wanted in.

“Rugby league went from being a game to a business and the impact Turner had on that cannot be understated.

“Her impact on rugby league – and , perhaps unwitting, has been immense.”

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