Budget Airline takes on FIFA ahead of the World Cup

Budget airline Kulula had felt FIFA’s wrath when the world football authority blocked their ad in which it said that it was the ‘Unofficial National Carrier of the You-Know-What’. FIFA felt that the advertisement which was framed by soccer balls, soccer players, vuvuzelas, and was in the green and blue Kulula colour had pushed the limits of their copyright on the combined use of these symbols too far. The airline felt that FIFA’s reaction had been a “bit over the top” and that it was extreme to claim association with the representation of everything that relates to the World Cup including the South African flag and Vuvuzelas.

The airline had vowed then that there would definitely be another ad and they stuck to their word. Only this time they are wittier! In yesterday’s Sunday Times, Kulula seemed to mock FIFA’s approach to marketing which associates any company to the World Cup by publishing a full page ad which refers to 2010 as  ‘Not next year, not last year, but somewhere in between’.

Since FIFA has a problem with the South African flag being used, this ad on its borders has two hanging pieces of cloth labelled, “Colourful beach towel? Flag?”

Knowing about the world football authority’s feelings towards the use of Vuvuzela’s in advertisements, the ad is illustrated by golf tees which look a lot like a certain plastic trumpet but to reassure FIFA is labelled, “Definitely definitely a golf tee’.

Continuing in the same spirit of not annoying FIFA, the ad is quick to point out, “No, they’re running shoes” next to a pair of what appear to be football boots without studs, towards the bottom of the ad.

In the middle of the page is an imposing structure that, at first glance, looks like a football stadium. Kulula had been  told that they cannot use the Cape Town Stadium in their ads. So not wanting to offend the mighty FIFA they assure you that the structure is, in fact, ‘Storms River suspension bridge’.

FIFA who are notorious for their lack of a sense of humour are sure to react but it certainly looks like they have met their match!

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1 Comment »

  1. Great article Rhea,
    Sponsors and partners of any big event in the world pour millions €€ $$ in order to secure their marketing rights. To put it nicely, without sponsors, there is no sport event.
    Therefore, there is a strong scrutiny on ambush marketing activities, and I do think it is normal that brands that invest in sponsoring must be protected against other brands that are communicating around an event they do not sponsor.
    I have to say that Kulula is playing a witty card against FIFA, and this is creating the buzz they were looking for in the first place…..and this is the smartest way to play it.

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