Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sponsor and Branding Protection at the World Cup

Has FIFA, the governing body that oversees professional football (soccer) around the world completely lost its mind? Some would think so despite their claims about protecting sponsors and eliminating 'ambush marketing' at the 2006 World Cup.

Recently it was reported during the game between Holland and Cote Ivoire, FIFA officials insisted that 400 Dutch fans had to remove their patriotic orange lederhosen branded by Bavaria, a Dutch beer company. Why? The official beer sponsor of the World Cup is Budweiser.

I appreciate FIFA's attempts to protect sponsor investment. Especially when tens of millions of dollars are at stake. However, such extreme enforcement could have an adverse effect on the very same sponsors FIFA is trying to protect.

The old adage comes into play. Any publicity is good publicity and I can't help but think the folks at Bavaria are chuckling over all the press they have received because of this PR snafu.

More importantly, where does it stop? The Nike 'Swoosh' logo on Brazillian jerseys is now unacceptable (as Adidas is an official sponsor) so fans entering stadiums must remove their shirts? If Calvin Klein is an official sponsor, must you remove your jeans if they are from the GAP? What happens if you are not wearing CK branded underwear as well? Oh dear...

Whenever I attend games in Europe, I always wear neutral colours to avoid confrontation with drunk fans or hooligans. Now must I worry about branding on my clothes as well?


Blogger Ed Lee said...

Good point, and one that I covered at the end of this post ( last week.

Yes the sponsored has to protect the rights of the sponsor, but it also has the responsilibity to choose a relevant sponsor, not just the person who walks in with the biggest, sweatiest, wadge of cash. As FIFA clearly did here.


10:57 a.m.  

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