Branding the World of Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Budweiser’

FIFA going overboard in prosecution of ambush marketer

Posted by ZA on June 18, 2010

At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa FIFA is attempting to send a message to businesses around the world – “Don’t mess with our event or our sponsors”.  It is not surprising that FIFA is working so hard to control their event, what is surprising is the extend they are willing to go to.

In this case, FIFA is reported to be seeking criminal charges against two ladies who were involved in Bavaria beers attempted ambush marketing at the Holland versus Denmark game.  The women were the alleged organizers of 36 young ladies who showed up at the match wearing orange mini-dresses.  The eye-catching orange dresses were the same color as Bavaria beer, although they did not have any recognizable marks from the Dutch beer company.  Two of the women in the group have been arrested and scheduled to appear in South African court.  They are charged with violating the new (for 2010 World Cup) “contravening the South African Merchandise Marks Act”, which was passed by the government on behalf of FIFA.  In addition, FIFA is said to be filing civil charges against Bavaria.

I get it, FIFA wants to scare off other potential ambush marketers by taking an aggressive stance now.  But FIFA appears to be overzealous in their attack on these two young ladies from Holland.  If they are convicted to serve time in a South African jail, then FIFA and the sponsor they are protecting (Budweiser) are both going to look like huge bullies.  I doubt FIFA cares if they are labeled a bully, but I’m sure Bud cares because they don’t want their multi-million dollar sponsorship to potentially turn consumers against them.  So far Budweiser has remained mum on this matter, but at this point I would expect someone at A-B to give FIFA a call and ask them to lighten up on this situation.

While I’m sure Budweiser is not pleased that Bavaria continues to pull off ambush marketing stunts at events Bud sponsors, sending two young women to jail is going to look over-the-top and reflect poorly on Budweiser.  I know my opinion of Bud would be tarnished if they allow FIFA to push this criminal prosecution into jail time for the women involved.  I have no issue with FIFA bringing a civil suit against Bavaria, but I think that should be the extent of it.  Hopefully cooler heads prevail and the criminal matter is dismissed.

Update: The two Dutch women who faced prosecution in this matter had all charges dropped against them.  Read full story here.

Posted in Soccer | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Budweiser gives up rooftop overlooking Wrigley

Posted by ZA on April 19, 2009

If you ask someone to name the brands most associated with Wrigley Field, that person would undoubtedly include Budweiser on their list.  That is because for years the King of Beers has been positioned in a prime location just across the street from Wrigley.  The iconic, red Budweiser sign was visible in the background of many photographs of the bleachers at Wrigley.  It has become part of the experience of attending a Cubbies home game.  Until now…

Anheuser-Busch decided to not renew the sign for the 2009 season.  A-B says they have sufficient signage within Wrigley Field that they no longer need the rooftop sign.  The Budweiser rooftop has been replaced with an advertising for Horseshoe Casino.  Me thinks this probably has something to “bitter contract dispute” that occurred between A-B and the building’s owner last fall.  Which needed a temporary restraining order from a Chicago judge to prevent the building owner from covering the Budweiser billboard during the Cubs playoffs run.

Advertising comes and goes.  Billboards are constantly being replaced.  So what is the big deal about this story?  I feel like the Budweiser rooftop belonged in the brand hall of fame.  It was an original idea that stood above the rest for decades.  It wasn’t so much an advertisement for beer as it was a part of the game day experience.  It will always rank as one of the top sports related branding vehicles in the history of advertising.

Posted in MLB, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing, Stadium Signage, Venue Information | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »