The Vorld Cup – It’s About Marketing Stupid!

The World Cup is starting to get interesting now after all the shadow boxing is over. In addition to presenting South Africa with a gilt-edged opportunity to market itself to would be tourists and investors, it is also a fascinating exercise in slick marketing. Unless of course you are the orange clad girls that tried to do a bit of Guerilla marketing for Bavaria Beer and got chucked out and arrested for trying to promote an unofficial product. What a dastardly crime.

One of the biggest and most competitive contests of  World Cup is the battle of the kit manufacturers. . . so who’s winning so far. Adidas get loads of mentions and coverage for the controversial Jabulani balls  which are about as predictable as the players Zaire wall during the ’74 World Cup. But hey, all news is good news and having come up with the ‘roundest ball ever’ or so we’re led to believe, adidas are straking ahead there.

After having cornered the market pretty much in kitting out the African teams with some unique designs including the All African third strip, Puma has two teams left; Nike also has two whilst FIFA’s favourite brand with the three stripes has three teams left.

Other manufacturers who were there but hardly got noticed were Umbro with their retro England effort and funnily enough Capello’s men played like a team from the fifties; the Chileans played in a nice red shirt made by Brooks whilst the North Koreans had something off the beaten track as you would expect!

And so in the quarter final clashes we have clashes of very different footballing cultures.

Argentina v Germany is and all adidas clash; Brazil v Holland all Nike; Paraguay v Spain – another all adidas clash and Ghana v Uruguay an all Puma clash. Would it be cynical to suggest that FIFA are keen to give each brand their day in the Sun, but still ensuring that adidas get the lion’s share of exposure with two quarter final ties.

The winners of the World Cup in terms of football will be the country that combines luck, skill, flair and defensive organisation. The other big winner will be whichever of these brands is still standing when the Final hits Soccer City.

And what of the advertising around the tournament. . . well once again appearing in a Nike ad pre world cup seems to be the kiss of death for anyone wanting to deliver on the pitch as opposed to the bottom line. Rooney, Ronaldo and co are away home with their tales between their legs. Ronaldinho didn’t even make it to South Africa.

Next time. . . we’ll take a look at the winners and losers in the world of punditry. Giles, Dunphy and Brady still provide the best value, pound for pound!

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