GLOBAL BRIEF: HHCL aims to promote FIFA’s off-the-ball activities - The footballing body has more to offer than just the World Cup

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 week).

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

week).



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

attention.



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

audience.



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.’



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