What if branding a city was illegal?

Kulula World Cup Campaign

Ad campaigns of un-official sponsors of the 2010 World Cup…lucky strike or off sides? FIFA’s referees were trained to determine who got accused of ambush marketing and who weren’t. Some were lucky and creatively by by-passed FIFA’s by-laws while others were off sides and gave the opposition a penalty kick…FIFA reap in the rewards through their legal law suits.

When un-official sponsors of the World Cup 2010 created marketing campaigns around the South Africa soccer theme some were successful and bypassed the by-laws set by FIFA and some got a red card slapped in their face.

When it comes to ambush marketing why were some companies accused while others weren’t. There is some controversy around this topic. When Kulula (British Airways Cheap and Affordable Airline) created an ad campaign with the title “The Un-official National Carrier of the You-know-What” FIFA slapped them with a red card, a legal note stating that they were participating in ambush marketing as the advert featured soccer-related drawings such as a soccer player, the Cape Town stadium, soccer balls and the South African flag.

The majority of the public saw FIFA’s fury from one angle; as this fun and affordable airline was ridiculing them of their by-laws and ambush marketing was a threat to their official sponsors who pay such a high fee to associate themselves with the World Cup 2010.  This created a buzz and with publicity and through Word-of-Mouth Kulula’s ad had already been seen and started rotating its way around the internet before Kulula was asked to pull it. Kulula then decided to redo their campaign and created another ad with the message “Not Next Year, Not Last Year, But somewhere in between” the ad was done in a quirky and fun way, which is the true Kulula style.

Why was this ad accused of ambush marketing when many other adverts featured the South African flag and soccer balls? Was it known to the majority of the followers that FIFA outsourced MATCH Hospitality to set a fixed price of R5 520 ($755) for all domestic flights for BA/Comair and SA Airways over the period of the 2010 World Cup*. Thus they made massive profits. Yet as Comair owns BA and it’s fun budget airline Kulula they didn’t get their hands on the whole package as Comair refused to sign both their airlines to MATCH/FIFA. Some say this is what tempered FIFA to send the legal letter. Getting revenge back fired on FIFA as the publicity generated from this was worth more than any advertising campaign would have.

Kulula Ad-The Ad that got accused of Ambush Marketing Kulula Ad-Their Come Back