Ambush Marketing at the World Cup

Two Dutch women have been arrested in South Africa and bailed charged with “ambush marketing over the wearing of orange dresses displaying the logo of the Bavaria beer company, not one of FIFA’s official sponsors for the World Cup.

The story is commented on by the BBC’s Sports Editor David Bond and he notes how it seems this issue is more important to FIFA than the lack of goals thus far and the empty stadia.  The former is a non-issue, the ball complaints are the usual hocus pocus thrown up at each major championships where a new ball is introduced, while the latter certainly is an issue – but not necessarily one I’ll comment on.

Ambush marketing describes the situation where a company not paying FIFA to be represented at the World Cup nonetheless manages to advertise itself at the World Cup, under FIFA’s noses.  Bavaria’s genius was to get some attractive girls in tiny dresses bearing their company’s logo.  Naturally, the cameramen engage in some customer-based discrimination (more men watch

and like it when the cameras focus on the attractive girls in the stands, particularly if they jump up and down too), and hey presto there’s the advertising.

FIFA apparently is very strict indeed on this type of advertising, nominally at least to protect those companies (McDonalds, Coca-Cola, etc) that have paid millions to have their names emblazoned everywhere.  South Africa even had to pass laws once they were awarded the World Cup on ambush marketing.

Those leaning anywhere at all near the left of the political spectrum I’m sure will recoil at these kinds of actions by an over-reaching and much-to-greedy FIFA.  The cameras were also unable to focus on the Bavaria logo hence actually the stunt would have backfired had FIFA not come down heavy-handed on it – and I’m pretty sure any guys watching would have taken away the memory of the ladies sporting the dresses and not the company’s logo even had they been able to see it – the attention of men tends to be on other aspects of ladies than the logo their dresses have.

It seems FIFA would have to charge a lower figure to Coca-Cola et al for sponsorship if it couldn’t guarantee this exclusivity, and it seems somewhat repugnant that it needs to bully countries into passing legislation so it can make a bigger buck from the tournaments taking place in particular countries…

And of course, when does it stop?  What about the kid in the GAP jumper or T-shirt who happens to have a camera focus on him or her during the game?  Should he be arrested?

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