AIG Japan flies the LGBT flag by painting rainbows on New Zealand rugby squad

All Black sponsors AIG Japan has shown its support for LGBT rights by painting rainbows on the rugby team’s kit.

As part of a campaign launched in Japan, a country where same-sex marriage remains unrecognised, the insurance brand unveiled a new black shirt for the New Zealand players that reveals the colours of the rainbow when stretched.

The emblazoned rainbow is underpinned by the phrase #DiversityIsStrength.

Dubbed the ‘United Black Fabric’, the shirts unusual colour structure was created by using ribbed material and painting the rainbow stripes on both sides – which ‘dyes’ the fabric in these hues.

According to TBWA/Hakuhodo, which developed the campaign, black dye is then printed on both sides of the fabric, but only on the outer part of every rib surface.

“The result is a fabric that maintains its black appearance when at rest, but when stretched, reveals the deeper grooved portions of each rib and the colours underneath,” the agency explained in a statement.

Although relatively more progressive than many of its Asian neighbours, discrimination against the Japanese LGBT community was highlighted last year by Amnesty International.

The global NGO claimed gay people in Japan were often reluctant to disclose their sexuality due to a sense of a sense of “social and emotional displacement”. In addition, Amnesty also pointed to Japan’s failure to legalise gay-marriage.

Although neither AIG nor TBWA specifically mentioned gay rights in their press release, preferring the term ‘diversity’, the rainbow sign has become universally recognised as the symbol of the LGBT rights movement,

To launch the shirts, the company also released a promotional film featuring the Black Ferns, the New Zealand womenʼs national rugby team, alongside the All Blacks.

The latest campaign follows last year’s ‘#TackleTheRisk’, which showed the All Blacks going on a tackling rampage around Tokyo.

Both efforts come as part of a major push by the insurance company to plug the Rugby World Cup 2019, which will be held in Japan.

AIG Japan Holdings regional chief marketing officer Matthew Walker said: “Building on the success of our #TackleTheRisk film last year, we really wanted to work with TBWA\Hakuhodo and the All Blacks again to tackle the bigger social issues in Japan ‒ starting with diversity.

“Our creative challenge to TBWA\Hakuhodo was how do we combine AIG, the All Blacks/Black Ferns and diversity in a relevant and impactful way that reflected our common values and aspirations?

“From TBWA\Hakuhodo initial organising idea of ʻIf you combine all colours of the rainbow, you get blackʼ through to their fabric innovation and film integration to achieve that promise, we knew it was a big idea.”

Currently, the shirts remain as part of limited collection, with 200 available to randomly-chosen Twitter users who follow @AIG_Sonpo and tweet ‘United Black T-shirt’. Delivery is available in Japan only.



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