US: Pepsi hits back at World Cup ambush claims
The world's most beverage friendly event, the World Cup, has shown its first red card to the drinks industry this week in bizarre circumstances, with Pepsi the unlucky recipients.
It seems that the game's governing body FIFA, along with Pepsi arch-rival and World Cup sponsor Coca-Cola, has taken exception to a Pepsi advertising campaign involving a number of soccer stars and successfully had it banned in Argentina.
Argentinean court was said to have found in favour of FIFA and Coke who claimed Pepsi was employing ambush-marketing tactics, and misleading consumers into believing Pepsi was an official World Cup sponsor.
Initial reports suggested it was the Pepsi sumo advert that had got banned, which showed soccer stars playing against a team of sumo wrestlers. However a Pepsi spokesman told just-drinks yesterday that the actual ad that FIFA filed a complaint against was "Share the Dream," which opens with a live-action team photo of the Pepsi all-star players, which then focuses on the dreams of a single player from a specific market, such as Argentina and Juan Sebastian Veron.
"The Sumo ads are currently on-air and running without any 'interruption' from FIFA," the spokesman said.
He continued: "FIFA has blocked nothing - the ads they are referring to ended their broadcast cycle on May 28 (and their complaint was filed on May 31 and ruled on by the court on June 3). The ad contained no mention or indication of World Cup or FIFA so its action is laughable."
Yesterday a marketing director of FIFA was quoted today as saying FIFA "regrets that corporations engage in ambush marketing activities. And (FIFA) is particularly disappointed to see a global company like Pepsico employing these below-the-belt techniques that harm the FIFA world Cup, they should know better."
But Pepsi countered by saying: "This is about FIFA trying to control earnings outside of its fiefdom. The fact that Pepsi have partnered with players, coaches and teams over the past several years to promote the sport of football seems lost on FIFA and on Coca-Cola as well. More specifically, FIFA and Coke are trying to deny everyone associated with football from sponsorship opportunities unless they have their stamp on it.
"Pepsi ads supporting our football sponsorships and promotions continue to be broadcast around the world and are being enjoyed by football fans everywhere."
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