Children in Mexico, women in Korea and coaches in Australia will
all feel the influence of HHCL & Partners for the first time this year.
The London shop has been hired by the Federation of International
Football Associations to create a global ad campaign (Campaign, last
During the six months before each World Cup, world-class sponsors jostle
to get a place in the FIFA mix. But for the other three-and-a-half years
out of every four-year tournament cycle, FIFA is paid little
HHCL is working with FIFA’s Zurich-based marketing partner, ISL
Worldwide, to find ways of keeping up interest in its new client. HHCL
will work on schemes and initiatives that will attract ongoing sponsors
and make people more aware that FIFA’s role goes beyond imposing fines
and tidying up the rule book.
McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are always looking for ways to ingratiate
themselves with the young and with local communities. Football training
camps or sports equipment in schools - fronted by FIFA but sponsored by
multinational advertisers - seem like sensible ways of reaching this
As well as helping to develop and promote these schemes, HHCL has been
charged with the difficult task of creating a coherent global brand for
FIFA. Recent research by ISL shows how differently the footballing body
is viewed worldwide. Brazilians and Nigerians are looking for benevolent
protection from FIFA. The French hold its ultimate prize - the World Cup
- so thoughts across the Channel are favourably biased.
The rest of Europe, however, still needs some persuading about FIFA’s
contribution to the game. Fraser Peett at ISL says: ’The Europeans don’t
trust institutions as much as they used to. FIFA is assumed to have the
same malaise as the European Commission.’
In Japan and Korea, the host nations of the 2002 World Cup, FIFA still
means very little. And in Australia, where football will feature in the
2000 Olympics, there is also a lot of headway to be made.
So how will HHCL’s campaign accommodate FIFA’s different needs around
the world? ’We are not interested in corporate ads,’ Peett says.
’If we just tell people we’re nice and ask them to trust us, it will be
money badly spent. This is a long-term project to establish FIFA as a
popular leader of sport. It will take a long time.’
Instead, the money will be put into ads promoting products and services,
from grass-roots training and the encouragement of women’s football to
more overtly commercial ventures such as FIFA’s computer games and
sports hygiene products.
FIFA aims to be ubiquitous and is no longer happy just to tag its logo
on to a plethora of products during the World Cup.
Adrian Coleman, a partner at HHCL, says: ’The game is a great vehicle
for promoting issues like gender, social and racial equality. Football
has been ambushed by companies like Nike. FIFA needs to capitalise on
its authenticity and credibility.’