Finweek English Edition - - Advertising & Marketing - POLOKO MO­FO­KENG polokom@fin­week.co.za

WHAT’S THE VER­DICT on the of­fi­cial open­ing of the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup, the dress re­hearsal for the Soc­cer World Cup 2010? Not a dis­as­ter – but not a tri­umph ei­ther. For TV fans (who are, af­ter all, the ma­jor­ity) the spec­ta­cle was ru­ined by plonk­ing TV an­chors cen­tre screen, par­tially ob­scur­ing the pic­tures and turn­ing down the sound. With tan­ta­lis­ing glimpses of dancers, si­lent singers and mu­si­cians in the back­ground we were treated to the hys­ter­i­cal, ma­chine-gun de­liv­ery of com­men­ta­tors who thought they were com­men­tat­ing on a close-fought match.

The mar­ket­ing has also been crit­i­cised. How­ever, John Daven­port – creative di­rec­tor of Ire­land Daven­port, which han­dled the mar­ket­ing for the In­dian Pro­fes­sional League cricket event – thinks the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee has been judged too harshly. “We had our own chal­lenges, es­pe­cially with ticket sales, be­cause South Africans al­ways wait un­til the last minute. They have a tougher task than the IPL did.”

Tim Fuhrmann, of the Ger­man Cham­ber of Com­merce, who is in­volved in 2010 plan­ning, says the com­mit­tee left its mar­ket­ing too late. “ They’ve done the right things so far – but so much more could have been done. Word of mouth is es­sen­tial in this kind of thing and they’ve been suc­cess­ful in that.”

Gov­ern­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Tiyani Rikhotso says the fo­cus is on a sus­tain­able cam­paign. “It cost a lot of money and we didn’t want a stop-start ap­proach.” He says two road shows were held to mo­bilise lo­cals. They were ed­u­cated about the sports and eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties the tour­na­ments would bring. Pa­tri­o­tism and be­ing good hosts were also en­cour­aged. “We want a re­peat of Ger­many, where flags were sold out and the na­tion was united be­hind a sin­gle vi­sion.”

Daven­port says what’s needed is an at­mos­phere en­cour­ag­ing at­ten­dance – whether you’re a fan or not. “ The IPL gave a taste of In­dia with the food, mu­sic and celebri­ties.” He adds there should be a fo­cus on a sin­gle medium. “If I knew what I know now, I would have put 100% into out­door in­stead of 70%.”

Fuhrmann says: “Peo­ple need to feel it’s their World Cup. In a time of eco­nomic tur­moil it’s a once in a life­time op­por­tu­nity for SA to show the world what it has to of­fer.”

So what have those driv­ing the project learned so far? Says Rikhotso: “Be our­selves and don‘t try and em­u­late Ger­many.”

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