KNIGHTS chief executive Matt Gidley contacted the NRL yesterday to complain after Newcastle were the only club not to feature in the code’s new advertising campaign, launched on Wednesday night.
In a one-minute commercial featuring pop star Jessica Mauboy singing a cover version of the Etta James track Something’s Got a Hold On Me, 15 of the NRL’s clubs receive at least some air time.
Some teams appear on several occasions, yet there is not a single glimpse of a Knights player.
NRL officials have since explained that the contentious advertisement was aimed at the Sydney market.
There will be three other versions of the commercial, to be broadcast in New Zealand, Queensland and ‘‘regional’’ areas respectively, which will cater for other clubs.
The Knights will apparently feature prominently in the regional production.
But that was little consolation for Newcastle management, prompting Gidley to contact the NRL’s general manager of commercial and marketing, Paul Kind, to express the club’s ‘‘extreme disappointment’’.
‘‘The NRL are absolutely clear on how frustrated and embarrassed we are, and they acknowledged that it’s not ideal,’’ Gidley said yesterday.
‘‘I’ve seen the regional ad and it’s good.
‘‘But our club and our brand and our sponsors deserve the maximum exposure, and we’re very disappointed that we won’t feature in the ad for the Sydney market.
‘‘From the club’s point of view, I think it’s important we get on the front foot with these type of things.’’
Gidley said as a compromise the NRL had promised to help the Knights promote their home games.
‘‘They’ve assured us they will work closely with us during the course of the year to ramp up exposure for our marquee games,’’ he said.
An NRL spokesman said the game’s governing body ‘‘stood by its strategy’’ and had intentionally ‘‘tailored’’ its campaign for four separate markets.
‘‘There is no national advertisement, as such,’’ he said.
There would be a 30-second advertisement with a ‘‘bums on seats’’ theme released in coming days designed to publicise the Knights’ opener against Wests Tigers on March 11.
Kind discussed the four-pronged advertising strategy at the NRL’s annual media briefing yesterday but did not reply to a message from the Newcastle Herald last night.