Did Weet-Bix’s Stat Attacks Cause the All Blacks To Sink or Swim?

Did Weet-Bix’s Stat Attacks Cause the All Blacks To Sink or Swim?

Will they pay the price for their roll of the dice?

Shoppers were surprised and likely bemused to find Weet-Bix had released a new edition of their infamous Stat Attacks cards in the middle of July: timed perfectly to coincide with the All Blacks’ epic losing streak. 

For those who have only ever felt the stale, joyless sensation of off-brand “wheat biscuits,” Stat Attacks are little pieces of cardboard depicting All Blacks past and present. They feature statistics such as height, test caps, and most importantly, the number of Weet-Bix each player can ostensibly plough through (shoutout to the mighty Karl Tu’inukuafe, who manages to regularly consume 12 in a sitting). A standard 1.2kg box of Weet-Bix usually contains three or four cards. Depending on your luck, these could either be current All Blacks, one of five “Legends of the Game,” or the coveted Richie McCaw gold card (which is likely worth more than a lecturer’s salary).  

While releasing anything slapped with the All Blacks logo seems to be a licence to print money in Aotearoa, the fact that these cards were released in the midst of the All Blacks’ worst losing streak since 1998 seemed like a ballsy move by the marketing gurus at Sanitarium. Maybe it was a strategy to inspire national patriotism and rally downtrodden All Blacks fans. Or perhaps it was just an infamously big cock-up, one which could be seen by historians as the first step in Sanitarium’s ignominious collapse? With the cards already printed and sitting snugly between bricks of whole wheat, whether they would become a hot commodity or under-sized, uncomfortable bits of toilet paper would rest on the broad, muscle-bound shoulders of our national rugby team. 

Against all (TAB) odds, in their first game since Weet-Bix’s new Stat Attack cards became available across Ōtepoti’s supermarkets, the All Blacks managed to snag a 35-23 win over South Africa at Ellis Park. Was it the work of a tenacious defence, combined with a spark of Richie Mo’unga magic? Was it a crippling fear of letting down Aotearoa’s favourite church-owned breakfast food manufacturer, and the likely eternal damnation that could follow? Did Sanitarium add a little something into their Weet-Bix that morning? Regardless, there’s a certain beauty in how all these factors led to such a memorable moment in New Zealand rugby history. 

To gauge the nature of this unique relationship, Critic Te Ārohi took to the streets, asking unsuspecting students their opinions on the All Blacks, Weet-Bix and their motu (all the same thing, really). Zac and John both claimed they didn’t really keep up with the All Blacks, despite harbouring suspiciously impressive Weet-Bix Stat Attacks collections. When pressed on their knowledge of the Weet-Bix/All Blacks nexus, John gave a sly nod, telling us: “I’ve been reading about this sort of thing.” While it’s uncertain whether John was referring to Weet-Bix or crazed conspiracy-theorist reporters, both suggested they would be buying more Weet-Bix after the great win over South Africa. Narayan, another student, told Critic Te Ārohi that “This sort of thing is so common in sport, big brands pretty much dictate what these teams do.” He then suggested that the game was effectively rigged from the start just to improve Weet-Bix sales.

Whatever you believe about this unique coincidence, we can all appreciate the monumental win at Ellis Park on Sunday morning, and we can all appreciate the All Blacks who achieved this feat. And what better way to do that than by buying Sanitarium Weet-Bix®? Right? 

This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2022.
Posted 3:16pm Friday 19th August 2022 by Hugh Askerud.