By Barry Janoff
June 9, 2014: FIFA, the global organizing body that oversees soccer and the World Cup, has unveiled a multi-level marketing campaign in time for the event, which begins on June 12.
The effort, "Elements," comes with the umbrella theme, "Developing Football Everywhere," and tackles such situations as discrimination, game manipulation and the role that the sport plays in uniting people and helping to enhance underdeveloped areas.
The campaign comes as FIFA's own global marketing partners and World Cup sponsors are releasing their own efforts to support the month-long event.
It also comes as many of FIFA's partners have openly questioned the selection of Qatar as host of the 2022 World Cup, a situation that has come under fire due to reports of bribes and other illegalities.
According to FIFA, the "Elements" campaign "seeks to raise awareness about crucial issues in football. FIFA is committed to developing football everywhere so that everyone can play and enjoy the same opportunities in the game. We invest about $550,000 (U.S.) every day in football development, thanks to the popularity and success of the FIFA World Cup."
The TV portion of the campaign is scheduled to be broadcast by FIFA's media rights licensees to global audiences during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which runs through July 13. "This gives FIFA access to a potential viewing audience of billions of football fans during our flagship competition," according to soccer's governing body.
“This huge platform gives FIFA an amazing opportunity to speak to a global audience,” Walter De Gregorio, director of communications and public affairs for FIFA, said in a statement. “And we wanted to use this platform in the right way — to tell the world there can be no place for discrimination of any kind in football, or in society, and to raise awareness around the threat of match manipulation.”
The effort is anchored by three animated stop-action spots. Support includes Internet and such social media destinations as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Lead agency is London-based agency Klein & Sons.
A generic 30-second spot, "Seeds," shows a soccer ball buried in the ground, being watered and turing barren and desert lands into grassy, fertile areas on which soccer can be played and families can thrive.
An anti-discrimination-themed spot, "Fan of the Match," shows that soccer is for everyone, despite age, race or physical challenges.,It comes with the text, "Whatever we are made of, football is for all."
"Pitch Warfare" is tagged as an "anti-match manipulation" spot that "sends a powerful message that FIFA and its member associations are fighting match manipulation together.
It follows a soccer ball that having great difficulty getting to the net due to such obstacles as an inordinate number of yellow flags, chalk hands that swipe at the ball and a pitch the unexpectedly buckles like a giant wave and then goes flat but in an extremely high angle. The situation reverts to normal only when flags of nations from around the world are introduced. "Together, we fight match manipulation."
According to FIFA's De Gregorio, “We also felt it was crucial to let more people know about our work in football development, which is where so much of the proceeds from the FIFA World Cup go to. Few people know that FIFA invests more than half a million dollars every day in developing football everywhere, from the grassroots up.”
Even as the campaign goes worldwide, global partners of FIFA have openly expressed concern about a report in the London Times that the bidding process and eventual selection of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup involved brides, corruption and other unethical situations.
Among the companies that have voiced their trepidation over the situation include adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai-Kia, Sony and Visa. Only FIFA global partner Emirates Airline has not as yet gone public with its opinion.
FIFA officials said the situation is being investigated and that a report from its ethics committee would be released in July. The report most likely would be made public after the conclusion of the World Cup.
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