Friday, 12 November 2010
Vaughan insists that all the RFU is doing is responding to public demand, that they have to meet what the public want, that the fan-base is changing and that England must adapt to meet that fan-base.
What Vaughan suggests is that the England "brand" is no more than the red rose, which means effectively that you could stick the red rose on pretty much any garment and the brand would remain unaffected. Bollocks. If a "new" audience is what the RFU are after why not brand up a range of hoodies, Burberry baseball caps and low-slung jeans and be done with it.
What Vaughan and the rest of those charged with marketing England rugby don't appear to get is that all the England rugby public want is a team to be proud of, a well-selected and well-coached team playing to its maximum potential. Part of the equation is that it also needs to look like an England rugby team. The value of an instantly recognisable brand image cannot be underestimated. For evidence one need only look at the All Blacks - the most instantly recognisable brand in rugby. I'm also convinced that a simple clean white shirt with a red rose would sell in its millions.
"I accept there is some feeling out there that marketing is overtaking the game but actually I don't think it is true at all," says Vaughan.
Rumours that the RFU are also planning to introduce yet another new England kit for next year's Rugby World Cup suggest otherwise.