Johannesburg, South Africa - If FIFA really wants to stop unofficial brands from getting publicity at the World Cup, it should consider relaxing its approach off the pitch.
By detaining and questioning 36 young women for wearing orange mini-dresses, FIFA has given a Dutch beer company exactly the exposure it was seeking. The ambush marketing exercise has made headlines worldwide. It was even front page news for one South African paper.
No-one would be talking about this now if FIFA had simply ignored the women. Two of them could end up in jail. Criminalised for wearing a bright, short dress; imprisoned, alongside murderers and rapists. What good would that do?
Of course football’s governing body needs to protect the rights of its sponsors. They pay billions of dollars for exclusive use of World Cup branding and the tournament is FIFA’s main source of income.
However, the controversial mini-dresses had a logo the size of my little finger, on the hem. They were no different to the bright, orange outfits worn by most football-loving Dutch fans.
FIFA does care about football. President Sepp Blatter has his critics and may appear eccentric at times but he is passionate about the game. His organization stands up to unwanted political interference in the affairs of national football associations, they invest in the sport’s grassroots and contribute to charity work.
However, there is a corporate stuffiness that is threatening to stifle football’s natural joie de vivre.
Rather than advertising to fans, it’s almost as if they are being told what to eat, what to drink, which car to drive and what credit card to use. The message is: "Come to the World Cup – as long as you live your life the FIFA way."
Where will it end? Will football fans have to stop wearing replica kits unless they are made by an official World Cup sponsor? Will countries have to cancel agreements with rival sportswear manufacturers?
Why doesn’t FIFA simply hand out plain overalls at the ticket gates so all supporters can look the same – happy, clappy, vuvuzela-blowing automatons in a sanitized sporting stadium, devoid of diversity and individual character.
As a sports reporter I normally dread working in football crowds - they make my life a misery. But after Holland’s group game against Denmark we filmed in the middle of 83,000 people without any trouble at all.
Although it made my life easier, it also raised concerns about the increasingly corporate direction the World Cup seems to be heading in.
I completely agree with the writer. The (NIKE) logo on my official Dutch Soccer Association shirt is larger than the one on the Orange dress. Should I be arrested too ?
I don't think the problem is that FIFA takes the the WC into a corporate direction. Most of the money made goes back into football.
The problem is that FIFA seems to be missing a sensible approach on how to balance (protecting) the business side with sustaining goodwill and fanbase.
bavaria 1 budweiser 00000
FIFA acts like surly kids – and it shows them up for being petty – very few people would have noticed the tiny logo – so how many spies has FIFA got out there?
Yes this profit-maximising money machine is a reality. It's called FIFA, but it destroys in the end what fans all over the world love in such events. Therefore FIFA tries anything to steal the real emotion and link it to something you can make money of:
a) once it was a football/soocer world cup, now it is a "FIFA world cup" (with "tm" and no relation to soccer/football in the name itself...)
b) you don't play the game with a simple football – they have a special branded Jabulani tm'd to further increase revenue in merchandise sales
c) the global music industry is integrated in this too: the official "waka waka" song is artificial, "on-the-desk-invented" culture – again totally controlled by a marketing machine to further increase revenue
There are several more examples everybody can easily see.
But if anything comes in the way of their marketing machine -like those guerilla campaigns you wrote about- it shows something interesting: you can try to control everything, but this is really impossible.
In the end the guerilla campaign gets more media exposure than those flickering LED panels on the side lines of the pitch.
As you see that security people get only 1/4 th of their wages and thus strike, and poor people do not benefit from the WC, I question the Ma(FIFA) and the way it deals with these cases.
Police and court could be better used for criminals and so. This is something for a lawsuit between Bavaria and maFIFA, not over the heads of poor (good looking) students.
Marcello from the Netherlands.
Couldn't agree with you more.
Apparently Budweiser seems not to be too happy with the FIFA approach and would like to see a more relax approach.
What happens next time when f.e. Levi's is one of the sponsors? Will all wearing wrangler's brought to court ?
Lots of success to the FIFA Maffia – they'll need it.
Piet – Netherlands
The key communications take-away with these situations is always to minimize it, downplay it, let it blow over and especially not to escalate the situation into a full blown media controversy that gives Bavaria a huge amount of visibility, more ammo in the David vs. Goliath beer war, and gives Budweiser a black eye. And they want to arrest students ??? Yikes
There were logos on the dresses? Really? I don't think any one would have noticed if it hadn't been pointed out...
fine we will all look like the North Korea fans... wearing uniforms! FIFA needs to calm down and let poeple wear what they want... so what if it isn't sponsored by one of the official sponsors. Is that against the rules?
There are logos on these dresses? I don't see them. To me it just looks like a normal bunch of football fans all coordinated.
There girls were detained and two might go to jail? Wow talk about over-reacting. Protecting the almighty corporate $$comes paramount to letting these fans live peacfully and enjoy the game I suppose. What a sad world. America is no better or less greedy but at least here I can't be detained for what I wear
Because FIFA treats their fans so horribly, I will never give them a dime. These girls deserve better.
"Protect the rights of its sponsors?" These phony corporate "rights" are (very) new inventions, giveaways of the public's rights by the governments of the world at the behest of WIPO and other shady organizations.
This garbage shouldn't even be chargeable, and no court anywhere should allow it on any docket. Let FIFA's sponsors bicker about it with the FIFA (as any free-marketer would), but leave the institutions of the state out of it.
Its time for a new generation of FIFA officials to come on board and take charge of the game for the sake of the game. The Ambush marketing is not the point – its the love of the game, Sepp & Co have totally spoiled that in S. Africa – were is the traditional singing, clapping, booing – get rid of the horn noise that is main focus not the ambush marketing – Seriously what a bad call and a terrible diversion of dodging the real issues.
excellent comment from your correspondent, but i think the overalls will not be sufficient. What about the FIFA providing the proper underwear too for those that want to attend the matches. I just loved the stunt of Bavaria since it is against the big money and i hope to see more of them in the future just as they have done in the past
FIFA sold the broadcast rights for the world cup to my country's(Singapore) broadcaster at an over inflated price because they know we would pay for it. Neighboring countries (Malaysia & Indonesia) are watching it for free while we have to pay an arm & a leg.
That shows u their mentality. Milk the cow for all that it got!
Soccer is not a game which is about the sport.
It is nothing but a gathering opportunity for people living in nations which have–essentially–no other major fan sport (no MLB, No NBA, No NHL, No NFL)...thus soccer is actually a world-wide fan phenom; it gives po' people an opportunity to dress weird, paint face, take a side and blow-off steam...a much needed social process. In the case of the World Cup...it is a once every four years thing–based on nationalism. The Dutch are carnival culture into orange...therefore organizing fan support will logically include a big show of T&A in orange. In South Africa–a recently de-repressed culture–the vuvuzela horn is as sexy as their society can currently get. Now, where as organizers of the vuvuzela horn got in with FIFA in order to sell horns to everyone, in order to cause a global phenom...the organizers of the orange mini's however were only interested in advertising a local association, i.e., football-mad mini's and a particular local beer; thus the orange mini's carried no readily visible logo...all they were interested in was an on-location T&A shot in orange. Therefore the Dutch were not attempting to bilk FIFA out of a dime or insult South Afican culture...they paid for their tickets, wore a homemade common t-shirt-esque outfit, cheered and took photos/video–big deal.
No harm, no foul...a yellow card here is a bad call, a red is a pure travesty of justice.
Why FIFA just send bills to the orange logo company for advertisement fee, rather than threat arrest (or arrest) mini dresses women. There should have been no issue, instead added FIFA revenue. If refused the ads fee, only then raise an issue, the mini orange dress logo was the evidence.
why do we need a FIFA can somone explaine? what does FIFA do? for us.
The world cup is basically a soccer tournament between nations. Enough people love it across the globe for it to happen. FIFA doesnt do anything usefull for the world (except maybe the video games). South Africa is not going to see a dime of what the fifa makes.
Hi – as a proud South African and African, I was dismayed at FIFA during the Serbia/Ghana match. In keeping with the world wide display of team spirit, 1 hour before kickoff numerous national flags of Ghana and Serbia were draped across the balcony seperating the 2 tiers of the stadium. This looked great and showed the amazing spirit at the game – and the tournament as a whole. UNFORTUNATELY, for the TV viewers, these were quickly removed from the balcony and all you saw were the bland FIFA logos. WHAT A TRAGEDY!! In Europe, Asia and the Americas flags are displayed all the time. FIFA would never pull these down – the riots would be epic. FIFA need to let fans be fans – displays of national flags ARE NOT ambush marketing – all though given half a chance, FIFA would probably claim marketing rights for these flags during the world cup. GREED IS NOT AYOBA!!!
So that means next WC will be only wearing what the FIFA wants us to wear.
Alex, I completely agree with you. This is an absurd situation, and Budweiser should be ashamed.
If Budweiser would be even a little bit intelligent they would pressure the FIFA to immediately stop this idiocy which has a negative impact on the Budweiser brand name.
I for one will not touch Budweiser beers and their other brands for the time being, and drink Bavaria which is also readily available here in France.
In response to Jobst
a) FIFA stands for Fédération Internationale de Football Association or International Federation of Association Football so there is ‘Football’ in the title.
b) It is traditional for them to introduce a new ball at tournaments. This is ongoing development of the science behind football. 99.9999% of people and kids will not buy this ball, and it is made within the specifications of what a football is supposed to be made. Not even all the leagues will use this ball as they will already have contracts with other suppliers.
c) The majority of pop music in the charts “on the desk invented” as you put it. Not really relevant.
Saying all that though, FIFA is a corrupt organisation thjat needs transparency in how it is run and how the people in power are elected.
I say, let's arrest some FIFA officials for giving Budweiser a bad name. (Perhaps have them wear an orange dress, as a penalty.)
If wearing orange coloured dresses is ambush marketing how can Japan line up a player named Honda??
This shows what kind of thinking goes on in FIFA aka Sepp Blatter. While everyone is waiting for changes in important issues like the amount of referees, camera use in case of doubtfull decicions, etc. FIFA is worried about a little label of a beerbrand on a dress...
Right, I guess mankind must hope that Mr. Blatter only has 1 life, otherwise he would vote himself to president of FIFA for another lifetime...
This is just a patriarchal misogynistic crime against women.
I hope the Dutch government is stepping-in with a big threat.
They are, after all, a part of the anti-terror collision forces.
Where is Geert Jan Wilders when you need him?
Football is the biggest sport in the world. Its owner does not need to be democratic or even impartial. This is about money and capitalism wake up. Nothing will prevent Football from protecting it's economic interests. The FIFA could even torture lower class blacks in SA if it would protect their investment. Life is meaningless to FIFA, Football is the biggest sport in the world.
This article is proof.
This makes me want to buy any beer but Budweiser.
Think about it, would you rather buy 1 type of beer and give up all other beers, or consiously avoid one type and be able to buy a million other types of beer.
Stop buying Budweiser to punish them folks. It's a weak watered down beer anyway.
As a Dutch myself i do understand where FIFA is coming from. If they allow this once the next time many companies will be using these tactics to gain attention. Companies will only be willing to pay half or less for advertising contracts with FIFA because they can claim FIFA doesn`t keep it`s promise of exclusive commercial rights for the companies. If the advertising revenues are much lower for the World Cup who will pay for hosting the world cup? It could become a financial nightmare.
Didn't know that budweiser is the WC's sponsor. I think the world knows Bavaria now.
According to a press release of today, the Bavaria babes don't want attention anymore. The party is over. They want to be home as soon as possible The FIFA even wanted to shoot them if they would run away. How low can you go.
Is "with violence we can rule the world" the message of the FIFA?
One more reason to hate SOCCER
The fact that FIFA [ TM ] has taken over South Africa [ TM ] Gauteng [ TM ]
Johannesburg [ TM ] 2010 [ TM ] the SA FLAG WE FOUGHT FOR [ TM ]
Not to mention all the FABULOUS UNBRANDED Soccer Fans Headgear that has been part of our Soccer [ TM ] Heritage for 50 YEARS [ not TM ]
just makes just another GLOBAL Event. And most sadly going back to the first South African Bid for 2006 it was AFRICA's CALL – and yet not ONE Fan Park for all our fellow Africans. SO SAD. NO sense of KULCHA
[ TM ] AYOBA my foot.
FIFA has to be the most backward organisation on the planet! This knee-jerk reaction is petty beyond belief – Bavaria have gotten so much mileage out of this and are laughing fit to burst. If FIFA didn’t react in this way none of us would even be aware that Bavaria were in the stands. This is just the sort of reaction Bavaria we gambling on and they won hands down.
I am also amazed that in this day and age that FIFA (aka Mr Blatter) still do not have the sense to embrace video technology as a third umpire – many soccer fans describe rugby as a backward sport but it is streets ahead of soccer in this regards as is cricket. Get rid of the current greedy officials at FIFA and get with the times – Mr Blatter – you disgust and disappoint! You have had your day – vamoose, move on, be gone!!!!
Uber-beautiful girls in lovely orange outfits – what a treat!
Their treatment by FIFA was absolutely despicable. I would have given them all a big hug and lined them up for dates – 69% of a year's weekends taken care of, just like that!
And to all the other girls out there: "You really want to get yourself one of these orange numbers. Forget the shoes, THIS will get you noticed!"
I was at the opening game and tried to make a purchase with my mastercard ( not VISA). This was not allowed. Only VISAs were allowed. This is crazy. FIFA is corrupt and creates more animosity towards their key sponsors than opportunity. I will not drink budweiser and use a VISA card. A second franchise is required for the world cup. This will keep FIFA in check. FIFA could get to host the world cup every 8 years or never. Its time for Sepp Blatter and is son to give football back to the people. It is too corporate inclined currently.....
I also completely agree with the writer, and Budweiser must thank Bavaria, why? because before this all i did'nt even know that Budweiser was the sponor.
I can tell you that FIFA officials actually thought about taking off the dresses of the girls but then decided to not do that since it would couse even more attention, I am sure the manager in charge of that stadium and game has been fired for making a wrong decision. It is sad what cash does to men. "Rights of the sponsor?" Where are the rights of wearing what you want to wear.
fifa acted like politicos, which shouldn't have been the case... it's a pity !!!
From now on I will be drinking more Bavaria than never because in my opinion Bud is the worse beer in the world. It gives headache and the next day is terrible.
Goeie actie van Bavaria!
I'm a huge soccer fan but unfortunately we all know it's a very very dirty business. Money laundering, corruption, bribery, the mafia, all this has been part of this game since there was some money to be made.
There is a complete lack of transparency around FIFA, the countries' federations and the clubs, it's a disgrace to this sport.
I would have the Dutch soccer team enter the arena in 11 orange DutchyDresses on Saturday... dare FIFA to arrest them too ;-)
FIFA scored an own-goal big time by making so much noise about this. As others already stated if they would have been quiet no-one would have noticed. For Bavaria this is a huge win. How many of us have heard of Bavaria only after FIFA started this crazy campaign.
Also, as one of the Dutch ministers stated, why didn't FIFA take it up with FIFA? Instead they had a few women arrested. They should have just taken legal actions against Bavaria if FIFA believed Bavaria acted incorrectly. That would have taken it into the court room instead of openly onto the streets world-wide. PS: It seems Bavaria now also offers dresses for England, Spain, France, Italy. :-) Bavaria – FIFA: 3 – 0 [1-0 Own goal by FIFA].
FIFA hates orange. Green is its color.
As ever, proud to be a Dutch woman. Maybe we can let one of our comedians, Youp van het Hek do the job? He did a great one with Buckler light beer in one of his shows? No one in Holland ever drank the beer again, let's see if we can do the same with Budweiser, that will teach them!
It's ambush marketing and it was strategically prepared by the brewery. It's only sad that the fans are being punished for it.
"Bavaria has form in the dark arts of ambush marketing. During the 2006 World Cup in Germany, dozens of Dutch men watched the Netherlands play in a Stuttgart stadium in their underwear after stewards ordered them to remove orange lederhosen bearing Bavaria's name."
We'll see more of this craziness in London 2012. The list of trademarked terms includes "2012" by itself. I wonder if any other sports event that year is allowed to be marketed at all?
FIFA could have well served everyone involved by just ejecting the group from the stadium and gotten on with the tournament and life.
Classic FIFA tale of 'brand desensitisation'. FIFA is so paranoid, the lonk life milk cartons at the coffee bar in its own offices in the Cape Town stadium have masking tape stuck over the 'Clover' label. 10 out of 10 for consistency. Only the Swiss would be so perfect. You have to love the World Cup and the way it brings out national traits and confirms common stereotypes, for better or worse.
Punishing women for wearing an orange minidress that had a 3sq cm (hard to see at close contact) label of a beer company has produced 2 results:
-most people think FIFA is half crazy and pretty much money obsessed
-the company that seemed to have launched a very clever 'ambush marketing' got millions dollars worth of free global publicity.
Will somebody in FIFA think better about the consequences of some activities (specially the ones that seem to make little sense)?
the intention was guerilla-marketing. heineken objected the first time this brand pulled it of in a pre wc game of the Dutch team.
So you were warned, despite that you still tried again. how dumb can you be. Budweiser expected it , so did Fifa, obey by the rules cheapness comes with a price: bad publicity.
so this was real dumb marketing.
The woman arrested claimed to be from a student group, then it was discovered she was a pro marketeter, Beer B denied and then acknowledged, etc etc.
come clean other wise you will end up like BP. bad publicity for the beer brand B
The problem is with the MARKETING COMPANIES and the SPONSORS themselves. The sponsors litigate to the nth degree for exclusivity and have clauses for policing of the premises and sometimes a 1 km radius of the venue.
This also happened in the Cricket World Cup and many mom-and-pop stores that traditionally sold whatever they wanted near the venue were TOLD what they could and could not sell.
So then it is not FIFA but the sponsors that are the greedy ones, stipulating... "I will donate x dollars, IF your restrict AND police this... and this... and that." So in this case, the fault is with Budweiser and their marketing department.
I think fifa should stop this mess before its gets out of hand.
if it still move on like this, maybe in time to come ladies will be coming to the studium naked.
It's a sham that the FIFA is now harrasing Dutch fans in S-A because of this affair. Only shows that the FIFA is interested in money and not in football and the fans.
oh..i didn't expect Fifa to do such thing. Let this Beautiful game be people's game and not by those Sponsors in controlling everything.
Lets look at this from the angle of intent, Bavaria knew they were breaking the law, first by aquiring tickets put the girls in a "VIP" area where they knew the girls would get attention. Had it been a just a group of girls in orange dresses and sitting in teh normal supporter enclosure .........no problem ...........but Bavaria created this situation knowing they were breaking whatever ethics exist regarding marketing,.............put it this way............if bavaria had paid billions to sponsors the WC, would they have let another brand ambush them ?
fun is fun but business is business and the WC is big business
sorry, but those girls are fantastic. beautiful,sexy, lovely.
please, can i have details of the agency that hired them ?¿?
I am happy to pay Euro 1,500.00 per girl to come to my party here in Marbella.!
These girls are the epitomy of Fantastic
I am more than happy to pay the 1.500 Euros each, per day, to party here in Marbella!
In a stadium! Bavarian logo on a orange mini skirt could only be noticed by either a bavaria obsessed drunkard or the hater of the sweet bitter juice. If I am wrong then fifa guys are greed and crazy, crazy as insane
The Dutch will go for the Final !
FIFA should open it's financial statements and financial documentation to public scrutiny to deal with the rumours of nepotism and corruption.
This only shows the strength of ambush/guerilla marketing. No matter what FIFA does, it loses; although admittedly they chose the worst of the 2 options by arresting these poor girls.
Only 2 things would have made this action by Bavaria more successful:
1. Bikinis instead of mini dresses
2. Improve their beer; I wouldn't drink it unless it was the last beverage on earth.
I completely agree.
By going after the women, the world has known more. The people who did not know are aware of this brand now. FIFA suceeded in giving them the publicity they were seeking "THE FRONT PAGE". Ignoring certain problems is the best way of dealing with it
Alex Thomas is a sports correspondent and anchor with CNN International, working out of the company’s London office. As well as reporting from the 2009 and 2010 Champions League finals, in Rome and Madrid, Alex has been CNN’s man on the ground at the Wimbledon and French Open tennis Championships, Vancouver Winter Olympics and the football World Cup in South Africa. He has also interviewed world sports celebrities like Roger Federer, Usain Bolt, Padraig Harrington, Arsene Wenger, Ji-Sung Park, Michael Ballack and Serena Williams.
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