LIGHTEN UP, FIFA

Finweek English Edition - - Advertising&marketing -

THE WORLD SOC­CER BODY – Fifa – has spent years hon­ing its strate­gies and method­olo­gies, en­sur­ing that no­body other than paid-up spon­sors can ben­e­fit from any claimed as­so­ci­a­tion with the Soc­cer World Cup. That’s as it should be, many would say. Af­ter all, if you spend US$70m on spon­sor­ship you don’t want any Johnny-come-lately cre­at­ing the im­pres­sion he’s the spon­sor when he hasn’t paid a cent.

But Fifa’s de­fence of its com­mer­cial rights at times bor­ders on the ridicu­lous. Met­cash has been stopped from sell­ing lol­lipops wrapped to look like a soc­cer ball. A Pre­to­ria sports bar was barred from car­ry­ing World Cup sig­nage on its roof.

By com­ing down heav­ily on mi­nor of­fend­ers, Fifa seems to have put a dam­per on a whole host of ac­tiv­i­ties run at the same time as the 2010 event, thereby un­der­min­ing the eco­nomic spinoffs that are sup­posed to fol­low.

And it doesn’t stop the real pro­fes­sion­als. In Ger­many, Lufthansa en­joyed more pub­lic­ity spinoff from its 2006 Soc­cer World Cup than Emi­rates, the of­fi­cial air­line spon­sor. And a bril­liant TV com­mer­cial for Pepsi cre­ated the im­pres­sion it was the of­fi­cial soft drink spon­sor without break­ing a sin­gle reg­u­la­tion. So lighten up a lit­tle, Fifa.

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