Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Fifa: Bavaria flew ‘ambush marketers’ to SA

Dutch brewery Bavaria flew in two coordinators from The Netherlands to organise the “orange dress” ambush marketing campaign, world football body Fifa said on Thursday.

“In this case, it has surfaced that at least two coordinators were flown in from The Netherlands to organise this ambush activity — they hired innocent local girls and devised a strategy,” the Fifa media desk said in a statement.

This included training the group of local girls before the match.

Also, the two organisers’ strategy included “disguising them as Danish fans [covering their orange dresses] and using a decoy group to divert the attention of Fifa and safety and security authorities to another area while the big group entered the stadium through another side, and then compelling them to lie to the police about the organisers’ involvement in the activity”.

“They also obtained tickets from unauthorised sources,” said Fifa.

Two Dutch women, Barbara Castelein and Mirte Nieuwpoort, appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday after a few dozen women, all dressed in the same orange miniskirts, were taken in for questioning by the police on Monday.

The orange miniskirts were handed out in Bavaria gift packs in Holland ahead of the World Cup.

The pair faces charges of contravening the South African Merchandise Marks Act.

On Wednesday, police could not say why only two women had been arrested.

The Dutch newspaper, De Volkskrant, reported online on Wednesday that it was believed the two women arrested had their flight tickets and accommodation in South Africa paid for by Bavaria, while the other South African women wearing the dresses only seemed to have been hired for the day.

“Fifa has filed charges against the organisers of the ambush marketing stunt pulled during the Netherlands vs Denmark match in Soccer City. No charges have been filed against the young South African women used in this illicit activity,” Fifa said.

Legal assistance
Meanwhile, Bavaria is providing legal and other assistance to the two Dutch women.

“Unfortunately Bavaria has been drawn into the furore surrounding the arrest of the two ladies who were wearing an orange dress also worn by thousands of Dutch ladies and football supporters,” the brewer said in a statement late on Wednesday.

“There is no way Fifa can hold these ladies responsible for their attendance at the match in their Dutch dress in Soccer City, and Bavaria is currently doing everything in its power to assist the arrested Dutch ladies,” Bavaria said.

Anheuser Busch’s Budweiser is the official beer for the tournament and Fifa fiercely protects its sponsors from brands that are not its partners.

“Bavaria will ask Fifa to immediately stop intimidating Dutch dressed female supporters,” the Dutch brewer said.

Bavaria has clashed with Fifa before over supporters wearing its orange clothes to stadiums.

Four years ago at the World Cup in Germany scores of Dutch men watched a match in their underwear after stewards ordered them to remove orange lederhosen bearing the name of Bavaria.

Dutch officials said the arrest of the two women was “disproportionate”.

Warning
Fifa said it had warned companies before the Soccer World Cup that South Africa had legislation criminalising ambush marketing.

“Fifa strongly disapproves of companies who employ ambush marketing tactics to promote their brands at big sporting events without having contributed to the organisation of those events …

“Fifa wrote to a large number of companies before the tournament, drawing their attention to this specific South African legislation, to avoid any unknowing infringements.”

The world football body said it was “appalled” that these companies “use innocent people as a tool to conduct these unlawful activities”.

“Fifa is looking into all civil remedies available and will await the outcome of the criminal case currently being run by the South African police service.”

Bavaria is not a World Cup sponsor and Fifa has built up a reputation for aggressively protecting the commercial interests of its sponsors. — Sapa, Reuters

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

More top stories

How to game Twitter’s algorithm – and hoodwink journalists

It is possible to convince newsrooms looking for a topical story that something is news when it isn’t, to dangerous effect

We will do better, ANC president Ramaphosa says in corrective...

At the ANC’s manifesto launch, Cyril Ramaphosa promised to reduce unemployment, increase social security, and stamp out corruption in the party

Young and jobless? Apply for one of 287 000 education...

Education department urges young, jobless people to apply for teaching assistant vacancies

Officials implicated in arts council mismanagement will be brought to...

The National Arts Council vows that every cent from the sector’s Covid-19-relief programme will be disbursed to artists, after auditors uncover maladministration
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×