Another triumph for ambush marketing with the Dutch beer brand Bavaria smuggling 36 women all dressed in orange into the Holland vs Denmark World Cup match, under the noses of FIFA and Budweiser, the official beer sponsor at the event.
This has led ITV to fire its football pundit Robbie Earle, as the Bavaria tickets were a batch that Robbie had been given to be used only by his family and close friends.
Bavaria is developing a fine track record in this area. In the last World Cup it got a thousand Dutch fans to turn up wearing branded orange lederhosen before they were forced to remove their trousers and watch the game in their underpants.
No doubt senior brand directors will huff and puff that Bavaria and Robbie behaved badly but the public is rapidly getting the impression that these big sporting events are really being run for the benefit of multi-national conglomerates and the FIFA coffers.
In the eyes of the average fan, shameless commerce seems to be taking over the World Cup and the Olympics and it’s time the sorting organisations eased back on the exclusive deals and their dictatorial attitude to anyone else who dares to mention the event in their marketing.
Otherwise, as some research reports are already indicating, the benefits of becoming an official sponsor will diminish quite fast,with most people unable to tell or care about the difference between the official sponsors and their rivals.
On the punditry issue Robbie’s ejection is a shame. He’s a civilised, rational commentator who has some interesting things to say. What a pity it couldn’t have been Alan Shearer or that hyperactive idiot in glasses who presents the BBC’s highlights programme.