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FIFA Warns Brands to Back Away from World Cup Promo Campaigns…or Else!

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Is he a turtle or a squirrel with a bedazzled forehead?

The FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) is looking more and more like the NFL each day.

Just as the gridiron folks will quickly sic their lawyers on anyone bold enough to combine the words “Super” and “Bowl”, this week the world’s top soccer organization issued a statement essentially warning all brands that don’t happen to be official sponsors of the upcoming 2014 World Cup that they will be punished if they use the event for promotional purposes.

While the organization’s spokespeople didn’t get specific, they clearly had a couple of examples in mind…

Carmaker Peugeot’s #KickItToBrazil campaign may well have prompted this warning. Of course this spot does not include the phrase “World Cup”; the ball in question just happens to be traveling to Brazil via plane, bicycle and branded vehicle.

A FIFA spokesman told Marketing:

“The contribution of FIFA’s commercial affiliates is vital to the success of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and we therefore ask companies to refrain from attempts to free-ride on the huge public interest generated by the event.”

Translation: our sponsors have paid lots of money for this event, so don’t steal their thunder. While it’s not quite clear what leverage FIFA has over these brands, something tells us they’ll want to avoid the fate of the Dutch women who were arrested for pulling an “ambush marketing” stunt at a game in 2010.

What did they do? They got paid to wear orange to promote a Dutch brewery brand, thereby violating a law that “prevents companies benefiting from an event without paying for advertising.”

While we love MPB and City of God, we’ll have to file this story away for inclusion in the inevitable “28 Reasons We’re So Glad to Be Nowhere Near Brazil Right Now” post during this year’s World Cup.

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