Marketing of the 2010 Soccer World Cup is to kick into high gear in the second of half of the year, when the Confederations Cup, the curtain-raiser to the main event, has been concluded.

The local organising committee (LOC) has come under fire for not marketing next year’s event as much as it could, compared with the glitzy marketing of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket event taking place in SA at the moment.

But the marketing committee of the LOC board, which is representative of the stakeholders, will meet on May 4 to finalise the brand alignment of the various campaigns.

The South African Tourism 2010 marketing campaign, which is part of a broader R300m campaign launched by the agency in 2007, will go live on May 9 on international platforms such as the British Broadcasting Corporation and Eurosport.

“The World Cup is still 12 months away and I need to keep my powder dry. We only have R20m for traditional marketing while the IPL had about R120m to spend over a short period. We can’t compete with that,” says Derek Carstens, chief marketing officer at the 2010 Soccer World Cup LOC . “Our priority at the moment is the Confederations Cup and making sure that is a huge success.

“In Germany (in) 2006 their campaign really only began three months before the event. We will kick off our campaign after the Confederations Cup and really step it up after the official draw of the teams on December 4 in Cape Town.

“Fifa’s focus is really on marketing operations, which is really the branding of the stadiums and the event itself. We know the event will be sold out so there is no real need to market the event.”

It is therefore not surprising that the LOC’s budget for traditional advertising is a mere R20m.

However, the marketing of SA as a destination will fall to South African Tourism, which is relying on the event to boost tourism to SA in the next few years and will be rolling out its international campaign at the Tourism Indaba next month.

The corporate sponsors are also beginning to roll out their campaigns.

“Corporate SA cannot wait for the LOC to lead all marketing around the 2010 World Cup and it is up to us to take the initiative,” says Graham Wood, MD of Southern Sun. The hotel group has already kicked off a 2010 campaign called Football Friday, where staff are encouraged to wear a soccer jersey to work.

“The idea is to stimulate discussion between staff and guests around soccer and the World Cup. It has already been a huge success and we have had reports of staff and guests playing soccer outside Beacon Isle in Plettenberg Bay,” says Wood.

The tourists versus staff games have been so successful that Carstens may adopt the idea as a national campaign.

While the LOC cannot be held responsible for marketing SA as a destination, corporate sponsors and the tourism industry are looking to it to set the tone and message of all marketing around 2010.

Carstens says the LOC is finalising its nation-building strategy — the equivalent to Germany’s 2006 World Cup “Time to make Friends” campaign. “This will run and unify the message of all advertising around 2010,” he says.

Wood points out that the message is vital to marketing SA.

He says that with billions set to watch the event on television, there was a need to “create a passion for the country and the event through a simple and tangible slogan”.

Global events manager at South African Tourism Sugen Pillay says the International Marketing Council (IMC), South African Tourism and the LOC have long been working on brand alignment.

“While we each have our own objectives to achieve — the LOC marketing the event, SA Tourism marketing SA as destination and the IMC pushing the development of the country — there will be a common thread and message pulling together the various campaigns,” he says.

PUBLICATION: Business Day
AUTHOR: Julius Baumann
DATED: 24th April 2009