LESSONS FOR 2010
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.”