The image of 36 women wearing skimpy orange dresses at a World Cup soccer match last June raised the ire of Fédération Internationale de Football Association ("FIFA"), which had two of the women arrested for organizing the ambush marketing stunt on behalf of Dutch beer brewer Bavaria. Meanwhile, Nike’s "Write the Future" soccer-themed commercial, which is a 3-minute magnum opus featuring players from various national teams that qualified for the World Cup 2010, was allowed to launch an epic reign on YouTube unfettered by any interference from FIFA. Commentators have already pointed out that the players involved in Nike’s "Write the Future" campaign had disappointing World Cups: Ronaldinho didn’t even make the Brazil squad, while Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Franck Ribery, Didier Drogba and Fabio Cannavaro were all knocked out of the World Cup 2010 before the quarterfinals, each after enduring various misfortunes. But that did not stop the spot from generating major brand exposure for Nike and accumulating more than 21,200,000 hits and counting on YouTube. How can FIFA justify having women arrested for wearing orange dresses while doing nothing against Nike? Only FIFA can definitively answer this riddle, but FIFA itself publicly forecasted that it would take this approach months before the World Cup 2010 even began.
This article by Ben Mulcahy was originally published in the Sports Litigation Alert. To read the article please click here, or visit the Sports Litigation Alert website.