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June 4, 2015

FIfa Sponsors

How are the brands that sponsor FIFA affected by the current scandal and what can they do going forward to ride out the storm? FIFA is seen as a toxic brand so why would major brands still want to be associated with them?

If you Google FIFA this morning one of the Google search suggestions is ‘FIFA Corruption’. The FIFA  sponsors and partners include Adidas, Budweiser, Coca Cola, Gazprom, Hyundai, Macdonalds and others.

What are the implications for these brands of the FIFA scandal now that some see FIFA as a toxic brand?

Sunday Times Reports on FIFA

FIFA Corruption Scandal

Brand Damage

Do people really know who the FIFA sponsors are in between world cups? Can they name them?

Do they see them as FIFA partners or is the real association with the World Cup event itself?

I don’t think people blame the sponsors and partners for the FIFA scandal – the blame seems to fall squarely on the FIFA organisation and ex leader but ultimately they do finance FIFA so have a power base.

Perhaps we would have liked to see them come out earlier and more forcefully than they have so far – perhaps being a bit more vocal would have meant they could distance themselves from the current regime and the scandal around them.

Or the counter argument is that keeping quiet breaks the link between them and FIFA.

Sponsors and advertisers are trying to improve their brand exposure and reputation by being associated with the biggest sporting event but are currently being tarnished to some degree it must be so

Brand Repair

The FIFA sponsors and partners have another three years to the next world cup so plenty of time to attempt to repair the damage

I think they must ensure that FIFA is radically overhauled in terms of:

Structure  – EXCO committee which is elected by the nations not FIFA

Transparency  – Who is paid what, how are decisions made with justifications etc

Host nation selection – They need a whole new process that is not susceptible to corruption and clear rationale produced for the decisions they make

Where their money is being spent – Some accountability – perhaps even a bigger say in this fro the sponsors

This must be done by external parties to FIFA to have any credibility and chance of restoring trust

If people see that change has happened they will move on and accept the situation but if they feel that it’s simply papering over the cracks then the brand damage will continue

Perhaps the brave thing would be for a sponsor to pull out if that was contractually possible but more likely they will ride the storm to 2018.

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