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Unlike most world cup teams, Bavaria couldn’t lose. Kipp takes a look at the daring Dutch marketing ploy – ethically dubious, or an effective business short cut?
June 20, 2010 11:56 by Samuel Potter
Let’s imagine you are a senior figure within a large multinational sports brand. The sponsorship of a major international sporting event is up for grabs, and you are one of the potential suitors. It will cost you half of your annual marketing budget, but in return your exposure at the event will be significant, and you will have exclusive rights to officially associate yourself with the tournament in question. Should you commit?
The answer, it would seem, is no. Just ask Bavaria, who this week appear to have stolen a march on FIFA and its official World Cup sponsors. Bavaria is a Dutch company that produces, among other products, a non-alcoholic beer. Relatively, it is a small company, and it could never hope to afford an official World Cup sponsorship agreement with FIFA.
So instead, Bavaria seems to have got clever. It is believed to be the brains behind a group of female models attending one of the World Cup matches. The bevy arrived at the Netherlands Denmark game in red, but later stripped off to reveal orange dresses. If it was Bavaria, then someone at the company had clearly done their calculations – a group of models changing clothes in the middle of a game caught the attention of the cameras. But more importantly than that, it caught the attention of FIFA officials. Aware of the brand and a similar stunt in the 2006 World Cup, FIFA moved to protect the interests of its official beverage sponsor, Budweiser. The girls were ejected, and two were even arrested, accused of ambush marketing.
And that turned out to be the big mistake. Because the only thing more attractive to the media than a group of women changing clothes at a football match, is them subsequently getting thrown out of the stadium and arrested.
The result was a phenomenal amount of coverage for Bavaria across the globe, in newspapers, on TV and on the Internet. It was a level of coverage the company could hardly have dreamed of, all for a minimum investment.
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