Backtracking brands – When the World Cup throws a curveball

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  • 07/07/2014

In the lead up to this summer’s World Cup, brands pledged allegiances with football teams, football stars. Head and Shoulders showed off dandruff-free Joe Hart, Mars revealed to us the cheeky side of Steven Gerrard and Adidas published huge billboards of Luis Suarez’s face – teeth bared

Unsurprisingly, these have not been the most universally popular campaigns in light of recent events. So how do you quickly disassociate yourself with a failed advert, and an unattractive human action, without seeming to do a complete u-turn?

For advertisers, there has simply been a noticeable removable of England team references (though, in countries who have secured their semi-final spots, the same brands seem to be remaining football focused!) and the only footballers still appearing on our screens are those – such as Gareth Bale – who cannot be held personally responsible for the current, despondent mood of the nation’s football fans.

Adidas has more of a dilemma than the average advertiser however. As long-standing sponsors of a biting, yet undeniably talented player, they have to condemn his actions, whilst weighing up the fact that, once the scandal is over, they still want him on their books (as it were). They have been extremely pragmatic about the situation, removing him from their World Cup advertising (which luckily included enough players to allow them the occasional purge) and quickly taking down that billboard on Copacabana beach…

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