All Blacks sponsor Telecom has ditched the contentious "Backing Black" abstinence campaign amid international ridicule.
The news comes as Global Saatchi & Saatchi boss Kevin Roberts defended the ads.
The high-profile advertising company was responsible for the concept and delivery of the campaign, which called on All Black fans to abstain from sex during the Rugby World Cup.
Those who sign up were offered black rubber rings to show their support.
Despite an avalanche of disapproval from All Black fans, Telecom is standing by the campaign.
US-based Roberts - a Telecom board member and former New Zealand Rugby Union board member - also confirmed his support for Backing Black.
"The campaign is tongue-in-cheek, fun, and a light-hearted way to get rugby people, and all New Zealanders, talking about the RWC and letting them share their support for the AB's in an authentic NZ way," Roberts said in an email to Auckland Now.
"It's not rocket science . . . it is entertaining, provocative, and good natured. I think it will appeal to true rugby loving heartland supporters."
Roberts added in the email: "Do your duty and ... Abstain For the Game!"
Telecom - one of the NZRU's chief sponsors - which was behind the gimmick was coming under increased pressure from All Blacks fans to pull the pin on the project.
One telco staffer today said, "I too am disgusted at this ridiculous ad, already in my call centre some staff have had to field calls from angry customers who want to disconnect all services".
"I just wish the marketing [department] had run a poll with the staff to see what they thought before rolling the campaign out -- everyone would have been against it.
Thank goodness; that's all we can say. Now, bring on the rugby!