- Title: NETHERLNADS: Dutch beer brand advocates World Cup marketing case
- Date: 17th June 2010
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) PEER SWINKELS, BAVARIA BOARD MEMBER, SAYING "Well, the publicity came after FIFA decided to held this ladies. This gave all the publicity, so if FIFA didn't do that, none of this publicity would have been there, so I don't really understand, what FIFA is doing here."
- Embargoed: 2nd July 2010 13:00
- Topics: Industry
- Reuters ID: LVAB15X0VFTRWO446VIFQR1ISJH0
- Story Text: A Dutch brewer suspected of ''ambush marketing'' at a World Cup match denies wrongdoing.
A Dutch brewer on Wednesday (June 16) rejected allegations of running an illegal promotional stunt at a World Cup match and blamed FIFA for mishandling the marketing case.
Family-owned Dutch brewer Bavaria was accused of running an ''ambush marketing'' when a group of 36 women were watching the Denmark/Netherlands match in Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium in skimpy orange dresses.
The dresses promoting Bavaria caught the eye of legal experts on the lookout for ambush marketing campaigns.
Two women were arrested and appeared in front of a World Cup court on Wednesday. They were released on 10,000 rand ($1,319) bail each and the case was postponed for a week.
The Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs said the arrest of the two women was "disproportionate".
Bavaria board member, Peer Swinkels, said the logo of the brewery on the dress was hardly visible.
"As you see, on this dress there is no big brand logo of our company, so we don't understand, why these dresses are not allowed in the stadium. And that these girls get problems by that," Swinkels said.
Soccer's ruling body FIFA said at least two "coordinators" were flown in from the Netherlands to recruit and train locals for the stadium stunt. It said they disguised them as Danish fans to get them into the match and then used a "decoy group" to distract stewards.
Swinkels said Bavaria will offer legal aid and accommodation to the two women.
"These ladies really are the victims, in my opinion, so we always should help them legally of course, for housing, their families, etc. Of course, it's logical, it's human. I think we have to look also to the human side of this whole case and at the moment, today, I was busy with the families with the ladies and with the legal action," he said.
Anheuser Busch's Budweiser is the official beer for the tournament and FIFA fiercely protects its sponsors from brands which are not its partners. It has started legal proceedings against the Dutch brewer.
Bavaria welcomed the publicity generated by the case, Swinkels said.
"The publicity came after FIFA decided to held this ladies. This gave all the publicity, so if FIFA didn't do that, none of this publicity would have been there, so I don't really understand, what FIFA is doing here," Swinkels said.
FIFA's aggressive legal moves against any hint of ambush marketing against local companies made it unpopular with many South Africans before the tournament.
South African police and justice authorities have moved rapidly to deal with cases related to the tournament, after setting up special courts to accelerate cases.
One of the courts on Saturday (June 12) sentenced two men to 15 years each for robbing World Cup journalists from Portugal and Spain.
Bavaria has clashed with FIFA before over supporters wearing its orange clothes to stadiums.
Four years ago at the Germany World Cup scores of Dutch men watched the Netherlands play in a Stuttgart stadium in their underwear after stewards ordered them to remove orange lederhosen bearing the name of Bavaria.
British TV pundit Robbie Earle has been sacked by ITV terrestrial television company after tickets found in the women's possession were traced back to the former Jamaica international.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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