FIFA Says "Please, No" To Social Media Freeriders On The 2014 World Cup

March 17, 2014
As more brands invest in social media advertisements for the World Cup, FIFA announced that the official sponsors of the event in June 2014 in Brazil would be McDonald?s, Budweiser, Castrol and Johnson & Johnson. Furthermore, FIFA warned other brands who intend to just ride on the popularity of the event and market independently to refrain from doing so. The announcement was made shortly after car company Peugeot launched the hashtag campaign #KickItToBrazil. As part of the advertising campaign, Peugeot will feature a football traveling through 30 countries, beginning in Paris, France and ending in Brazil just in time for the launch of the World Cup. The hashtag #KickItToBrazil and a microsite can be used by social media fans to witness the current location of the football via Instagram and Facebook.

"No Unofficial Marketers, Please"

#KickItToBrazil, however, is not one of the official hashtags launched by FIFA. Nor is Peugeot an official sponsor of the huge event. Although FIFA did not expressly attack or comment on the campaign, it warned non-official brands not to ride on the growing popularity of the tournament, considering how others have invested money and effort to officially become part of the event and address consumers. A spokesperson for FIFA requested that companies respect the exclusivity that the organization has given to its commercial affiliates for the 2014 World Cup. They ask brands to avoid advertising or activities that would associate FIFA or the World Cup with their own without being sanctioned by the organization. The spokesperson added that the success of the 2014 FIFA World Cup rests on the efforts and contribution of its commercial partners. FIFA has grown more cautious of free-riders after non-official partners and brands associated themselves with the tournament and organization as a way to draw more consumers during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. FIFA filed a case against Bavaria, a brewing company, after riding on the popularity of the event in 2010, calling it "ambush marketing." Peugeot has partnered with Facebook for its campaign. "With an international media network of more than 12 billion active users, of which 945 million connect via smartphone, Facebook is the obvious media partner to help support this global operation." On the issue of possibly being accused of ambush marketing, a spokesperson for the firm denies there is any link with the FIFA Corporation, stating that it has been looking to promote its project since 1999. The official accounts to follow for updates are EA Sports FIFA (@easportsfifa) and FIFA World Cup (@FifaWorldCup).  

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