How Could Your Business Capitalise on a Summer of Sport?

With a certain major sporting event happening this summer (you know the one, the most watched televised sporting event in the world. No not the Tour de France although that is a very important event. I’ll give you another clue it features teams from 32 different countries playing football) a lot of brands are going to want to capitalise on the interest in order to build up some excitement for themselves.

Problem is you can’t, unless you’re an official FIFA sponsor trying to capitalise on the World Cup is classed as ambush marketing. Which is naughty.

Ambush marketing is the practise of trying to connect your product with someone else’s, without their consent in order to get a bit of free exposure. There are dozens of ways of doing it ranging from “predatory” ambushing (outright lying that you’re a sponsor) and “coat tail” ambushing (playing up a connection that is legitimate but not paid for such as a brand with London in its name pushing this during the 2012 Olympics) to “Insurgent” ambushing (selling footballs with your brand on them near a football stadium that’s hosting a World Cup match).

Bavaria Beer World Cup 2010 Ambush Marketing

The most famous example is probably Dutch beer brand Bavaria’s stunt during the 2010 World Cup. Bavaria gave away orange mini dresses free of charge to many fans of the Dutch national football team. Sensible enough since they’re brand colours are orange and the Dutch team plays in orange. At the same time they ran a TV ad campaign that prominently featured these dresses. The intent was clear; to create a connection between the skirts and Bavaria so that when fans were shown wearing these skirts during coverage of the World Cup the audience would think of Bavaria.

FIFA caught Bavaria’s scheme of course and were less than pleased, ejecting Dutch fans from the stadium. However even this turned into free advertising for Bavaria as it became a major news story that spun FIFA as the bad guys, kicking out innocent fans who just wanted to show support for their team.

FIFA obviously wants to crack down on ambush marketing. It annoys their sponsors to have their image rights infringed on and FIFA needs sponsors.

And just to be clear we aren’t encouraging you to do it either. Ambush marketing can be very, very naughty and some versions of it are flat out illegal.


There are things you can do that are not only legal, they are specifically singled out by FIFA as being okay to do that achieve the same effect; letting you associate your brand with the World Cup without paying for it.


Craven World Cup Ad


The main distinction is whether your marketing is tied into a specific event or to the generic elements that compose that event. The World Cup is a singular, protected entity but it is ultimately a football match happening in Brazil and there is nothing protected about the concepts of football, Brazil or even in the combination of the two.

Check out this ad mock up we created for a great example of how you can use imagery associated with football and Brazil without mentioning the World Cup.


Branded Football Merchandise


Similarly we’re offering clients branded football products that can be used in a number of ways to take advantage of the passion and excitement associated with the sport.  For example you could use these to:

Give them out as prizes to employees and customers to increase engagement.

Send them as presents to clients and customers to build brand awareness.

Pass them to prospective clients as a way to get your message past the defence and read by the real decision makers.

Hand them out at an event to increase your business’s visibility, an inflatable football is going to stick in the mind a lot more than a flyer.



The other way to legally and ethically capitalise on this sporting interest is to emphasise the shared values of the two brands.

In the case of football you’ve got values of health, youth, athleticism, fun, excitement and skill. Brazil suggests beauty, colours, spectacle, vibrant parties, fun and music. These are all great positive values you’d want to be associated with any brand and if you already have any of these aspects as part of your identity it is easy enough to play them up in your marketing language and iconography to create an implied connection.

Employ some smart tactics and you can score considerable gains from a summer football campaign without getting a red card from FIFA.

For more out of the box marketing strategies Call 0113 859 1688 or email