The biggest buzz at the World Cup isn't the despised drone of the vuvuzela. It's ambush marketing, embodied by Bavaria's team of 36 "Dutch Dress"-clad models who were ejected from Monday's game between Denmark and Holland. Legal action against the so-called "ringleaders" is raising eyebrows as FIFA plays the heavy to protect official brand sponsors, who have shelled out some $1.2 billion collectively for the status.
As we noted last month, soccer's world governing body isn't messing around. More than 2,000 complaints are pending as FIFA tackles subversive marketing at the global equivalent to the Super Bowl. Still, ambush marketing is paying off for at least one global brand.
The Wall Street Journal notes how non-FIFA partner Nike is stealing the spotlight from official sponsor Adidas, including generating double the amount of online searches. Fans are still talking about Nike's "Write the Future" ad, including how it features Ronaldinho, who isn't even playing.
Even so, FIFA may not be squeezing every last dollar out of its marketing strategy as possible, says one analyst. And official sponsorship didn't protect Adidas from one match: Team England, as the sports brand says goalie Green's flub was not its ball's fault. More World Cup buzz after the jump.
Could U.S. interest in the World Cup on ESPN have saved Disney's ESPN Zone restaurants from closure?
Still bugged by Vuvuzela noise? There's an app for that.
The UK sees bigger-than-expected sales increases thanks to World Cup fever. Sales in Namibia spike as well. Ditto sales of condoms in South Korea following that team's win.
Meanwhile, workplace productivity worldwide pulls a Robert Green.
The World Cup also boosts celebrity brands, including FIFA's 2010 songbird Shakira, who's following her Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) hit with a Bollywood debut.
Nandos, purveyor of awesome ads and (maybe) awesome food, releases a new ad (maybe) mocking South Americans.
Non-official sponsor Pepsi joins coach Maradona in promising naked celebration for an Argentina World Cup win. Enjoy these classic World Cup spots featuring Pele for Pepsi and Maradona for Coke: