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Non-sponsor Solo launches South African Football competition

Non-sponsor Solo launches South African Football competition
February 3, 2010

Soft drink brand Solo has launched a major South Africa themed football promotion featuring Socceroo Harry Kewell, despite sponsorship rights to the FIFA World Cup being held by rival brand Coca-Cola.

In what looks like a classic example of ambush marketing, the promotion, entitled 'Everything But A Ticket', avoids making any direct mention of the tournament, but offers fans the chance to be in South Africa while the competition takes place in June.

Media and marketing website Mumbrella reports that a carefully scripted advertisement for the Schweppes Australia-owned brand to promote the competition entirely avoids using the words 'football' or 'World Cup'. In the commercial, the presenter says, "the legal guys tell us we aren'ât allowed to give away tickets to a certain South African festival of the round ball."

After revealing that the prize includes flights to South African, the presenter stresses there's also "five grand to spend however you like", in what some viewers might take as a hint that it can be used to buy tickets to see games.

The Solo promotion is like to be the first of many high profile campaigns by brands trying to tie themselves to the FIFA World Cup without the multi-million dollar cost of sponsorship.

World football governing body FIFA is well known for the lengths it will go to protect its sponsors from ambush marketing by rivals and non sponsors. However, this mainly focuses on its trademarks and logos, which the Solo promotion has avoided using. However, it is likely that the advertisement will still be closely scrutinised both by FIFA and Coca-Cola.

On its website, FIFA says "FIFAâs primary objective is to put a stop to the systematic, commercial abuse of its event marks on a wide scale in order to safeguard the rights of its partners."

The Solo commercial features a one second cameo from Socceroo Harry Kewell. Brief appearances from Kewell are becoming a habit for Solo - he also featured in a single shot in an advertisement launched last August to mark Solo's partnership with A-League football.

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