Non-sponsor Solo launches competition to get Socceroo fans to South Africa

Soft drink brand Solo has launched a major South Africa themed football promotion featuring Socceroo Harry Kewell, despite sponsorship rights to the World Cup being held by rival brand Coca-Cola.

In what looks like a classic example of ambush marketing, the promo – titled Everything But A Ticket – avoids making any direct mention of the tournament, but offers fans the chance to be in South Africa while the competition takes place in June.

A carefully scripted ad for the Schweppes Australia-owned brand to promote the competition entirely avoids using the words “football” or “World Cup”. In the commercial, the presenter says: “The legal guys tell us we aren’t allowed to give away tickets to a certain South African festival of the round ball.”

After revealing that the prize includes flights to South African, the presenter stresses there’s also “Five grand to spend however you like”, in what some viewers might take as a hint that it can be used to buy tickets to see games.

The Socceroos have qualified for the competition, and the Solo promotion is like to be the first of many high profile campaigns by brands trying to tie themselves to the event without the multi million dollar cost of sponsorship.

FIFA – the world football body-  is famed for the lengths it will go to to protect its sponsors from rivals cashing in. However, this mainly focuses on its trademarks and logos, which the Solo ad has avoided using. But it is likely that the ad will still be closely scrutinised both by FIFA and Coca-Cola.

On its website, FIFA says: “FIFA’s primary objective is to put a stop to the systematic, commercial abuse of its event marks on a wide scale in order to safeguard the rights of its partners.”

The Solo commercial also features a one second cameo from Socceroo Harry Kewell. Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearances from Kewell are becoming a habit for Solo. He also featured in a single shot of last August’s ad – created by BMF – to reposition Solo around soccer.


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