Back in Germany 2006 Dutch beer brand Bavaria made headlines after employees on an in-stadium ambush mission were forced to strip down to their underwear when officials prevented them from entering the ground wearing their Bavaria-branded orange lederhosen.
In South Africa, Bavaria and its lawyers were undaunted by their German experience and again ran a World Cup stunt that saw 36 orange-clad/Bavaria-branded women wearing eye-catching dresses in the crowd at a Holland vs Denmark.
Despite Orange being the colour of the Dutch football team (and thee brand), the group was ejected from Soccer City by FIFA officials and organisers arrested under the Contravention of Merchandise Marks Act (which prevents companies benefiting from an event without paying for advertising) and charged.
South Africa’s World Cup had plenty of ambush stunts and intrigue and lawyers were kept busy in FIFA’s temporary courts. After the brand’s previous experience it is unimaginable that it hadn’t consulted with its legal team before its latest ambush activity.
The legal action demonstrated how committed FIFA are in protecting its rights and in this case the investment made by official beer Budweiser. But it also illustrates how certain brands, especially those that have done their legal research, are more than prepared to take their punishment.