NRL revives its Tina Turner ‘Simply the Best’ campaign with polarising updated rendition

The NRL has revived its 1990s, Tina Turner-fronted ‘Simply the Best’ campaign ahead of the 2020 season.

The campaign has already attracted criticism from fans due to some errors in its chronological placing of iconic events in the game’s history. For example, the Trbojevic brothers are depicted playing together as toddlers in 1996, however that was the year Tom Trbojevic was born.

The ad traces the history of the game over the past 30 years, and follows some of its most iconic players and moments, including the Super League war in the 1990s and South Sydney’s expulsion from the competition in 2000. Some of the players featured in the ad include Melbourne Storm’s Cameron Smith, the Manly Sea Eagles’ Tom and Jake Trbojevic, and South Sydney’s John Sutton.

The ad has an underlying message of unity, highlighting fans of different demographics and ethnicities and including the image of NRLW players Karina Brown and Vanessa Foliaki kissing at the end of 2018’s women’s State of Origin (the pair have been partners for several years). It rounds out with the message “Still the game for all, Still making history, Still simply the best”.

However, the ad has also attracted criticism from fans for this message being too ‘politically correct’.

Writing in News Corp’s The Daily Telegraph today Paul Kent bemoaned “How can the NRL be so removed from its own fan base?” and “How are they so out of touch?”

“The game’s hierarchy is so blinded by politically correct activism that they no longer share the values of its core audience,” Kent added.

The latest version of the campaign was created by The Monkeys.

The original ad, starring Turner performing the track ‘Simply the Best’ showed her visiting teams’ locker rooms and attending matches, amongst montages of footage from games.

The NRL has been contacted for comment.

UPDATE – 6 March 9:00am

The Monkeys provided a statement to Mumbrella.

The Monkeys executive creative director, Vince Lagana, said of the campaign: “Tina Turner’s 90s ad was an iconic moment not just for rugby league, but Australian sport. It brought a new legion of fans and players to the code. So it only seems fitting that we celebrate the NRL’s culture defining moments of the past 30 years, to the backing of the game’s unofficial anthem.”


Creative Agency: The Monkeys, Sydney
Executive Creative Director: Vince Lagana
Creative Directors: Dan Fryer & Stuart Alexander
Writer: Dan Fryer, Stuart Alexander & Michael Dawson
Producer: Wendy Gillies
Group Account Director: Ciaran Miller-Stubbs
Account Director: Anna Willis
Senior Account Manager: Ruth Peck
Senior Planner: Charlotte Marshall
Production Company: Good Oil Films
Director: Stuart McIntyre
Producers: Chana McLallen & Sam Long
Casting: Natalie Jane Harvie @ Citizen Jane
Music/Audio: Tim Bridge – Sonar Music
Music Supervisor: Anton Trailer – Trailer Media
Editor: Simon Price & Phoebe Taylor @ Arc Edit
Flame Artist: Eugene Richards @ Arc Edit
Grade: Alter Ego, Toronto

Client: National Rugby League
Head of Marketing and Brand: Peter Jarmain


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