Italian football team AC Milan has come under criticism for perfoming a spoof ‘Haka’ dance before a match to promote a Nivea cream, with many branding the act ‘disrespectful’.
The club’s players appeared to take to the field before performing an imitation of the tribal dance, the Haka, most prominently performed by the New Zealand rugby teams.
The incongruous display stems from a marketing deal between the team and Nivea, a cosmetics brand.
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The New Zealand Herald was distinctly unimpressed and described the stunt as “cringe-inducing” and “one of sport’s most awful – truly gut-wrenchingly awful – promotions”.
A similar marketing ploy during the Rugby World Cup, involving former England star Matt Dawson dancing the “hakarena”, also drew widespread condemnation.
Wait, hang on. So AC Milan did the 'Haka' as an advert for Nivea face cream? Surely that's beyond disrespectful?
— Cricket365 (@Cricket365) April 22, 2016
AC Milan just did a pre-match Haka as part of a Nivea marketing campaign.
There are absolutely no words. None. https://t.co/jTKiGp0Ztj
— Adam Digby (@Adz77) April 21, 2016
AC Milan’s effort was embarrassing and many were struck by the sheer lameness of the ploy. “Superficially appropriating another culture’s serious custom for a light-hearted publicity stunt might be a bit problematic,” says the Daily Telegraph. But the main reaction was “widespread nausea at the thought of how low football seems to have sunk”.