National Bank's iconic horse Cody has died.
News of Cody's death emerges in the same week that ANZ announced that its National Bank brand will be absorbed into the parent company, so the black horse logo will disappear, and Cody will no longer gallop across TV screens.
As news of the merger broke, social media erupted with talk of what would happen to the beloved stallion. ANZ repeatedly assured customers and the public that Cody was happily grazing in a Waikato paddock.
"At the time those comments were made, we were unaware of Cody's sad passing," Stefan Herrick of ANZ said yesterday. "He was a fantastic mascot and a fine actor and will be missed by everyone."
In an exclusive interview with the Herald on Sunday, Cody's owner and trainer Bex Watts said she was devastated at having the animal she called her best friend put down.
"It broke my heart. He had been unwell for quite a while. He was 17 years old, which is a decent age for a big horse that has had an active life, but he had internal tumours."
Watts hasn't spoken publicly about Cody's death, but she said the bank announcement made the time right.
She said Cody enthusiastically developed his signature National Bank pose, in which he reared up on hind legs.
Oh dear. You'd think that ANZ would have done some basic fact-checking before they told the world that the Black Horse was "happily grazing in a Waikato paddock." It's another PR fail for the ANZ Bank, and Rod Emmerson's cartoon from the other day was prophetic.