BrewDog slammed for hypocrisy as it calls itself the ‘official anti-sponsor’ of the World Cup

BrewDog is in hot water yet again, this time for a “disingenuous” campaign announcing its “anti-sponsorship” of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar – while setting up money-spinning football-watching fanzones all over the UK.

The controversial craft brewer is calling the tournament the “World F*Cup” and has announced, “We love football, we just don’t love corruption, abuse and death.”

All profits from sales of BrewDog’s Lost Lager during the World Cup will be donated to human rights charities, but by showing the matches in its many venues across the country, the company has betrayed its high minded stance and set itself up to profit from the tournament.

On Twitter, BrewDog explained: “[We] don’t want to stop people watching the football. Corruption shouldn’t stop this. Besides, the more football we show, the more Lost Lager is sold, the more money goes to charity.”

Is this a misguided stand by BrewDog? Probably, but you get the feeling that the World Cup has become so toxic that no brand can win. Most seem to be giving it a wide berth unless they are an official sponsor or a broadcaster, and even then it’s all been pretty low key.

Perhaps if the England team does well (and it’s got some seemingly easy matches in the group stage) some of these high principles will be forgotten and everyone will enjoy the football, but it doesn’t seem like the Qatar World Cup is ever going to be a safe space for brands.

At club level, fans and sponsors of Qatari-owned Paris Saint-German aren’t constantly battling their overlords, and its players – who include some of the world’s most famous like Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar – seem able to keep quiet and take the money.

Likewise Newcastle and its Saudi state owners, or Chelsea under Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. Football, it seems, makes hypocrites of us all.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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