BrandDunk

Branding the World of Sports

South Africa turns over keys to FIFA for 2010 World Cup

Posted by ZA on May 17, 2010

A good article from Ad Age that covers the plans major sponsors have to promote their brands during the upcoming World Cup in South Africa.  It also talks about FIFA’s efforts to thwart ambush marketing campaigns from detracting from the 13 official World Cup sponsors.  FIFA claims there were over 3,000 “rights violations” during the 2006 World Cup in Germany, so they are already being proactive to try to limit them at the 2010 World Cup.  FIFA has created new rules to proactively prevent ambush marketing during World Cup matches.  And FIFA’s lawyers have proactively started sending warning letters to brands to deter them from planning marketing events around the World Cup.  One letter to South African airline, Kulula, prompted this humorous response from the airline on twitter:

Oh dear, letter from FIFA’s lawyers says we broke their trademark of the use of ‘South Africa’ and think our non-WC ad was about soccer…Even the use of our national flag was an issue.  It’s absolutely outrageous.  We’ve signed over our country, its symbols and our economy to one [FIFA President] Sepp Blatter. Nasty.

Although Kulula joked about it, the truth is they are not far from the truth.  When your country lands one of these major events (World Cup or Olympics) they are going to be giving away some of their “rights” to FIFA or the IOC until the event is over.  There were murmurs leading up the 2008 Beijing Olympics about the IOC counseling China on human rights issues, presumably to keep those abuses from reflecting negatively on IOC or the Olympic Games.  That comes with the territory for any country granted one of these events; you are willingly taking on a partner who is going to have control on certain issues.  So the people, and businesses, of South Africa better get used to that because they are going to be under FIFA control under July 12 – the day after the World Cup final is played.

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