The game began in the early part of 2009. Eastwood Tavern in Pretoria, South Africa, erected a sign that read “World Cup 2010” along with banners that included the flags of many football playing countries and the words “Twenty Ten South Africa”. FIFA responded to what it termed ambush marketing by lodging an application at the Pretoria High Court under section 15A of the South African Merchandise Marks Act. FIFA obtained the judgment with costs against Eastwood Tavern on the grounds that the pub infringed on its registered trademarks World Cup 2010, South Africa 2010 and Twenty Ten South Africa.
Roll forward to February 2010. Similar game but slightly different players – this time FIFA and Kulula, a budget airline from South Africa. The airline, who is not an official sponsor of the World Cup, produced an advertisement in a local newspaper with the tag line “Unofficial National Carrier of the You-Know-What”. This again sparked legal action by FIFA, who objected to the fact that Kulula featured vuvuzelas and the South African National flag.
World Cup blog stated plainly:
First of all, can I assume I’m not alone in finding that ad absolutely hilarious? Rather than straightforward trying to cash in on the World Cup in a cheap and nasty way, Kulula have instead made a clever and defiant gag at the expense of FIFA’s heavy-handed copyright and licensing laws.
Not to be outdone, Kulula went a step further with this ad:
South Africans lapped up every inch of the David and Goliath battle. In Chris Moerdyk’s opinion:
This extremely amusing bit of how's-your-father between FIFA and Kulula is demonstrating all sorts of wonderful marketing things. The first being that FIFA is playing right into Kulula's hands by so anally applying its draconian rules and, secondly, that there are definitely two sides to the ambush marketing issue.
He goes further:
What General Blatter and his Swiss Guards just don't seem to get is that the more they huff and puff and blow the Kulula ads out of the sky, the more Kulula will like every minute of it. Right now, Kulula has won the first prize of advertising. It has gotten everyone's attention. It is also, I'm told, selling airline seats as a result.
The game did not end there. Soccerway.com reported on 11 May 2010:
Numerous South Africans have expressed frustration with the rules FIFA has imposed on the host country, and feel deprived of their World Cup, which starts on June 11.The global football body has opened 451 cases of ambush marketing, aiming to protect its official partners who have spent fortunes to win exclusive rights to the brand.
Any advertising in certain areas is basically prohibited, unless you get a special permission of city council. It's an extremely broad prohibition,” said constitutional lawyer Pierre de Vos.
“If the rules are strictly enforced, there are going to be freedom of expression problems,” he said. “These restrictions are quite draconian.”
“There are very severe restriction on trading, not only immediately outside the stadium but also in the vicinity of the stadium, around fan parks,” he said. “They seem to me to be quite excessive.”
“Many of the rules are here to protect financial interests of FIFA. It has nothing to do with the successful hosting of the World Cup.”
Enter the strikers, hayibo who emphatically call on South Africans to
Join the Resistance and help remind a certain Swiss megalomaniac that South Africa is still a free country
with the sale of this T-shirt:
Not an official marketing partner of FIFA? Likely to get soccer's version of red card