FIFA World Cup 2010: Can advertising fiascos ruin South Africa’s dream?

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FIFA World Cup 2010: Can advertising fiascos ruin South Africa’s dream?

A fleet of thirty six women, dressed in s**y orange body-hugging minis, came to cheer Holland in the FIFA World Cup game against Denmark on Monday. They were surprised to find themselves being escorted to a stadium facility and interrogated for over three hours. The South African police claimed they were part of an ambush marketing campaign for an unofficial Dutch beer company.
The attractive Dutch dresses were given to them by a local events company which was hired by a Dutch beer firm, Bavaria. The outfits were said to be part of a marketing campaign for Bavaria’s beer. Although the stunt was appreciated by a large number of internet users, FIFA appears to be deeply concerned about the matter and its lawyers have vowed to inquire the blondes’ sizzling apparel.

Another interesting aspect of the story was that the Bavaria beer company had hired a local event management company to cater to over 30 South African women who would pass to be a Dutch football supporter in disguise. FIFA did not reveal the name of the local events company. In the past, FIFA has fiercely stood up for its sponsors or partners. No one is even allowed to carry a product made by its rivals. Pepsi, which happens to be a popular drink, cannot be used inside the stadium since Coca-Cola is the official partner for South Africa 2010. Budweiser happens to be the sole beer company and official sponsor allowed to advertise within the venues. FIFA proactively protects its lucrative marketing interests. The brand names of television sets in the media room and restaurant were plastered four years ago at the Allianz Arena because they were not manufactured from Sony – the official television partner in the last World Cup. Adidas, Emirates, Sony, Visa, Hyundai and Coca-Cola are six legendary FIFA partners who form part of all FIFA events. The World Cup 2010 has a list of eight sponsors which includes Indian IT company Mahindra Satyam. There are six additional national supporters for this edition being held in South Africa.
Considering all these predefined measures and policies the women dressed as Dutch in the orange minis were bound to find themselves in trouble. A FIFA official approached the group, accused them of ambush marketing, and asked them to leave the stadium or they would have to face severe consequences.
The women were forced to leave by stewards and taken to a FIFA office where they were interrogated for three hours and threatened to be sent into prison for six months.
Barbara Kastein, one of the detainees, said she was flabbergasted by FIFA’s reaction to the dresses. The dress shot to fame after it was modeled by Dutch WAG Sylvie van der Vaart, the wife of Real Madrid player Rafael van der Vaart.
She told that they were surrounded by 40 stewards in the second half and forced them to leave the stadium. One of the girls fell as they were being pushed towards the stairs.
"The police came and kept on asking us the same questions over and over, asking if we worked for Bavaria. They said we were ambush-marketing and it was against the law in South Africa. They said we would be arrested and would stay in jail for six months. Girls were crying. It was bad,” she said.
She also told the media that South African policemen took copies of their passports after being driven back to their hotel.
Although, the beer label is only visible if one looks closely at the bottom hem of the outfit, it is certain that it carries the name of a beer firm not affiliated with FIFA at all. FIFA's rights-protection program states that spectators cannot wear commercially branded clothing or accessories that are mass-produced prior to the matches by entities clearly targeting the run up into the World Cup.
Ambush marketing is an obvious fraud and declared as a criminal offence at the World Cup finals



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