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Telecom has pulled out of its "no sex over the rugby World Cup" campaign, saying it had misjudged public reaction.
Yesterday it was revealed New Zealand fans were to be urged to abstain from sex during the rugby World Cup in a "humorous" campaign to be fronted by former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick -- that was also understood to have irritated the New Zealand Rugby Union.
The "Abstain for the Game" All Blacks supporters' campaign was to start next week.
However, Telecom today said it would not be proceeding with the campaign.
Retail chief executive Alan Gourdie said the campaign was designed with the best of intentions, and attempted to strike a humorous tone in order to rally even more support behind the All Blacks.
"But we got it wrong. We misjudged public feeling, which in reaction to yesterday's partial revelations in the news media was overwhelmingly negative.
"No excuses. We caused offence to some people, and for that we apologise."
Borrowing from Fitzpatrick's most-quoted post-match comment, Mr Gourdie said: "Full credit to the opposition. We listened to your views, and we have acted quickly to change our game plan."
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters this morning joked it was ironic the campaign was advocating for fans to engage in abstinence.
"Here's Telecom asking New Zealanders not to do what they have been doing to New Zealanders for the past 21 years," he said.