FIFA hits back at Bavaria after ambush marketing stunt

FIFA has filed criminal charges against Dutch beer brand Bavaria for ambush marketing at a World Cup game on Monday (14 June).

Football’s international governing body filed with the South African Police Service after 36 female supporters were ejected from the Holland v Denmark game for wearing orange mini-dresses that were believed to be part of a campaign for the brand. Two of the 36 were later arrested.

FIFA is very protective of the rights of sanctioned sponsors to market exclusively at World Cup games and has vowed to come down hard on rival brands’ attempts to highjack the tournament.

Budweiser is the official beer partner at this World Cup and has a major presence at all games.

Bavaria has a long history of gate crashing football tournaments. Previously, over a 1,000 Dutch fans wearing branded pants were denied entry to a Holland game during the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

The beer brand seems to have benefited from the publicity the stunt caused. According to Experian HitWise, the site received a “spike in traffic” after the game and was the fifth most visited beer website in the UK on Tuesday (15 June).

A FIFA spokeswoman says: “The latest target had been the Dutch national team itself, and the Dutch FA had already objected to the strategy employed by this brewery for ambush activities around the national team matches using the exact same promotional objects.”

Monday’s incident led to ITV firing football pundit Robbie Earle after it emerged that tickets he had been given for family and friends had been passed on to Bavaria.

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