Is the Qatar world cup a sponsor’s dream or nightmare? Coke is first up

The increasingly controversial FIFA World Cup in November is hoving into view and Coca-Cola, a main sponsor since 1978, is kicking off its marketing effort with ‘Believing is magic,’ a spin on its ‘Real Magic’ platform. With, presumably, marketing partner WPP.

Controversial because of host Qatar’s treatment of labourers on the project among other nasties. The last FIFA World Cup was equally controversially awarded to Russia – and look what that did for global relations. David Beckham has been roped in to front Qatar – for a reported £15m – and apparently he’s cheesed off that Amnesty International has condemned the tournament and his role in it. Poor lamb.

Coke and other sponsors must despair of FIFA and all its works.

Here’s one of the first of what will surely be many from Coke (and not a tent in sight.)

FIFA chief business officer Romy Gai says: “As a valued and long-standing FIFA partner, Coca-Cola plays a vital role in enhancing the FIFA World Cup fan experience worldwide and driving our ultimate vision of making football truly global.

“Our friends at Coca-Cola have provided extraordinary support for FIFA and the FIFA World Cup over many years, and we applaud their latest creative efforts to inspire and engage fans across the planet in a unique festival of football.”

It’s OK, does the job and carefully avoids surrounding minefields. Let’s see what Nike and co. come up with.

MAA creative scale: 5.

PS Wouldn’t it be nice though if big sport was rather more, well, sporting?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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