CONFLICTING statements from FIFA around the Bavaria Beer dress controversy could be a case of sour grapes or stail hops. It appears, the federation have sold the rights to advertise beer to Anheuser Busch who don’t want to see any competitors associated with the tournament. Bavaria Beer, a Netherlands based brewing company apparently paid some women to wear clothing manufactured by the company. They also gave away tickets and organised volunteers to “create a team wearing the Holland national colours but posing as Danish supporters”.
There doesn’t appear to be anything illegal in doing this, but FIFA maintain the group has contravened the South African Merchandise Marks Act which was recently amended to make room for commercial rights which may exceed the freedoms guaranteed by South Africa’s constitution.
It appears the “ambush marketing” tactic has more to do with the exposure gained by the arrests, than the actions in and of themselves. Since there is absolutely nothing distinguishing the women and their dresses from other similarly clad Dutch supporters — Orange is traditionally the colour associated with the Dutch Royal family. (See previous posting)
The group may have been “outed” in order to gain international exposure for the Bavaria brand. Bavaria Beer have ambushed the anti-ambush-marketers in the process.
Participants in the supposed “ambush” marketing campaign describe their arrest in a way which appears to give credence to this theory. It would appear that a sophisticated game of industrial espionage and police-work has resulted in the spectacle of Dutch Orange supporters being arrested for doing little more than wear Orange sporting apparel.
To look at this picture another way, imagine if a clothing manufacturer handed out beer in unmarked containers as part of a publicity stunt. The only thing linking the company to the product is the controversy. The thought police are going to have a hard time proving that the incident was part of an illegal marketing campaign, since it would appear the marketing was dependent upon the arrests being conducted and thus played up to the fears of the organisors.
FIFA has therefore been stung by its own stupidity in an elaborate cat and mouse game in which freedom — our freedom as a nation — is being sacrificed in the process.
FIFA president Joseph Blatter may have had this in mind when he described the women as “nothing more than advertising mules,” in the process reducing all women to a lower species in the animal kingdom. A mule is the offspring between a male donkey and a female horse, and Bavaria have risen to the occasion, calling on FIFA to ” stop intimidating Dutch dressed female supporters.”
While there doesn’t appear any legislation tackling the length or cut of women’s dresses in South Africa, and the only place where this kind of thing would raise a stir on the continent is Malawi, the new pro-FIFA legislation appears to outlaw certain types of branding with regard to clothing apparel in particular “ambush marketing”.
A nefarious term which doesn’t describe much — both marketing and branding are completely different activities. For instance, where does the market begin and end? Is our Freedom up for sale? As the old adage goes, “that government governs best which governs least” and “keep government outside the bedroom” — the question mark remains as to how far the law extends to the neither regions of the female anatomy? If the labels were on the inside, who can complain?
Only a moral prude with deviant thought patterns like the plutocrats in FIFA would stoop this low and the law may seriously run awry defining what is (and what isn’t) a dress in the process and fashion viz vi. sport as far as women are concerned.
So, no, Mr Blatter, this isn’t an ambush, its an invasion of privacy and denial of fundamental freedoms guaranteed by South Africa’s constitution.
My advice to FIFA fans: cut out your labels. Wear no-name brands and pray to god you not caught with a no-name brand with the colour Orange.