World cup sponsors unfazed by Brazil protests

World Cup sponsors appear unconcerned by the protests taking place across Brazil and have heralded the democratic right of those involved to take part in peaceful demonstrations. Sponsorship experts warn, however, that if the unrest escalates and continues into next year, brands will become uneasy about running activity in the country. 

 

adidas-brazil-ad-2013-460
Adidas is a sponsor of Brazil 2014.

Brazil has been beset by several protests about issues ranging from the cost of staging next year’s tournament to public transport fare increases and Government corruption in recent days. It has been claimed some of the protests have been met with a violent police response.

The timing of the protests could not have been worse coming as they do in the middle of the country’s hosting of The Confederations Cup, an international knock-out competition between some of the world’s most prominent football nations including Brazil, Spain and Italy that is seen as a rehearsal for the World Cup, which will take place in Brazil in 2014. The country will also host the Olympic Games in 2016.

The world’s governing body for football, FIFA will be watching the situation with interest and trepidation. Although denied by the organisation, several reports from credible sources claimed the official website of Brazil 2014 had been hacked, with the site replaced with video of police action.

Sponsors contacted by Marketing Week insist none of their plans have been affected by the protests and it is not their place to comment on local unrest.

A spokesman for Adidas says: “Already in the past, big sport events have been used for demonstrations as they give international popularity in a few seconds, but as long as they are peaceful, demonstrations are an important part of democracy. However, we believe the current issues in Brazil fall outside of our area of influence.”

In a statement to Marketing Week, Coca-Cola, a sponsor of the Confederation Cup and World Cup, says the two tournaments contribute to the “long-term economic and social development and a permanent sports legacy for the country.”

It adds: “Peaceful public manifestations, such as the ones occurring in Brazil currently, are part of the regular democratic process that allows for free expression of all views.”

Some observers claim privately, sponsors will be concerned that next year’s tournament could see a repeat of the protests.

Mike Mainwaring, strategy director at sponsorship agency Generate, says: “It’s interesting that these protests are happening at this time [as the Confederations Cup is being hosted in Brazil].

“This tournament is seen as a practice-run for the World Cup, so from a sponsor’s perspective there’ll clearly be a few concerns.”

Gordon Lott, managing director at Havas Sport and Entertainment, adds it is the governing bodies, FIFA and the International Olympic Committee that have the most to lose if the problems persist.

“The IOC and FIFA will be more concerned as this not only damages their brands, which ultimately is what sponsors are paying an association for but also puts into question the merits of hosting a major games in developing countries. Going to developing markets has been one of the big selling points for FIFA and the IOC.

“Countries use the events to make significant infrastructure developments, stimulate the economy and market themselves to the world and of course sponsors are attracted to developing markets. If major events are seen as a focal point for political tension and unrest this model will be affected.”

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here