OPINION: You've got to hand it to DB Breweries. They really made suckers out of us with that "Tui Catch a Million" campaign.
Not since the good old days when Kiwis were burned at the stake for not owning a pair of Peter Blake's socks have I seen the nation brainwashed quite like it was this summer.
It was almost impossible to watch the Black Caps' recent one-day and T20 matches against India and the West Indies without having your peripheral vision invaded by orange T-shirts.
Apparently 60,000 of those who bought a ticket to the cricket forked out another $30 on top of that for the privilege of being a walking, talking Tui billboard for the day, which is just mind-boggling.
Most of these walking adverts also had sieves where their hands should've been.
The obvious exception being the two blokes who actually got a one-handed catch to stick and took home $100,000 each.
It was marketing gold, really. New Zealand Cricket provided a captive audience, Sky TV whipped them into a frenzy with endless replays of catch attempts and commentators who turned the thing into a game within a game.
Michael Morton's catch in the early days of the comp gave us common folk hope that it could be done.
Even if you didn't watch the drama unfold on TV there was plenty of social media buzz and the tsunami of free media coverage Tui got by hardly lifting a finger.
In the end, DB only had to hand over $200,000 of the $1.3 million it put on the line across 11 games.
Given the likelihood of that money being insured it's possible they didn't even fork out that much.
In either case, the t-shirt sales alone suggest the company CEO would have had a bigger grin on his face than Corey Anderson after his 36-ball century when it was all said and done.
I went to the NZ v West Indies T20 at Wellington's Westpac Stadium and almost purchased a bulls-eye shirt so I could be part of the craze.
But in the end, the idea of handing over my hard-earned cash to the Tui marketing machine didn't sit well with me, especially since I'm not a big fan of the product (plus I have the catching technique of a three-year-old).
Perhaps if I thought they would take my money and pay the Tui Girls to make their beer taste a little less like carbonated golden syrup then I might have reconsidered, but I can't see that happening.
But hey, you've got to give the marketing team some kudos.
Breathing new life into an old product isn't always easy and this was one of the more eye-catching beer promotions I've seen in a while, even if its exposure to children was questionable.
And good luck to all you newly-hypnotized Tui drinkers out there. Hopefully you guys can grasp a beer better than you can grasp a cricket ball.
What do you guys think? Did you enjoy watching the Catch a Million competition and did it make you thirsty for a Tui?
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- The Dominion Post