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Now in its twelfth year, Class 46 is dedicated to European trade mark law and practice. This weblog is written by a team of enthusiasts who want to spread the word and share their thoughts with others.

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Anthonia Ghalamkarizadeh
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MONDAY, 21 JUNE 2010
The Bavaria Babes marketing stunt: an opinion

This piece, penned by DSM's Petra Herkul, takes a look at a brand-related event that is very much in the public eye. Class 46 hopes that its readers will post their comments, for or against!  Says Petra:

Last week we were shook up by news from South Africa. Not because a favourite football team won or lost. No, a group of girls was thrown out of the football stadium during and two lovely ladies were arrested after the soccer game Denmark v The Netherlands for advertising the Bavaria trade mark without permission.

A bit of background for those of you who are interested. As we all know, the Fifa World Cup event depends, among other things, on funds from Fifa's sponsors. In return Fifa needs to make sure that those sponsors are well protected. One of those sponsors is Budweiser's owner, Anheuser-Busch. Last week a group of girls drew attention during the soccer game between the Netherlands and Denmark by changing their Danish supporter outfit into an orange dress. No problem, you would say. Orange is the Dutch colour and most of the Dutch supporters are dressed up in outfits that consist in part or in total of this colour. But in this case it was actually a problem because the dresses were considered a marketing instrument of Bavaria and since Bavaria, a competitor of Budweiser, is not a sponsor of the World Cup, they were not allowed to advertise.

Two of the so-called Bavaria Babes were arrested and will have to appear before a South African court tomorrow. The arrests took place based on section 15A of the South African Merchandise Act. This Act implies that, once an event has been designated as a protected event, no person is allowed promote a trade mark during that event without the prior authority of the organizer of such event. And of course the World Cup Soccer has been appointed a protected event. The girls are said to have two choices. Either plead guilty, hoping that they will get of with a large penalty which no doubt Bavaria will then pay, or make this a fundamental case, challenging their arrest and seeking for justice. We will have to wait and see how that will develop tomorrow.

Was this actually a matter of advertising and promotion? The Bavaria trade mark can indeed be found on the dress. This is even clear from the website of Bavaria where we can find “Four ways to wear the Dutch dress” including a “sporty look” for which the person carrying the dress needs to make sure that the logo is visible on the front. But was the logo visibly clear at the time the “promotion” took place?

To my opinion this matter was simply a very clever marketing stunt of Bavaria. By now this company have already had one week of free advertising and no doubt more will follow. If Fifa would not have acted I doubt whether anyone would have actually noticed the Bavaria trade mark. Although I am convinced that Fifa protects the interests of its sponsors I wonder whether this action did not do them more harm then good.

Can we expect the same to happen if and when the World Cup will take place in The Netherlands and Belgium in 2018. According to current politicians this will not be the case. But I wonder whether the huge financial aspects involved in organizing and supporting such an event, this will not be looked at differently then. Only time will tell.

Class 46 wonders about another marketing opportunity -- no-one seems to have registered BAVARIA BABES as a trade mark yet!

Posted by: Blog Administrator @ 18.35
Tags: ambush marketing, Bavaria Babes,
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Submitted By: Frédéric Glaize
21 June 2010 @ 19.07
Ambush marketing targeting Anheuser-Busch marketing plans! Our blogging friends from Afro IP also published an entry on this topic: read Darren Olivers's post here http://afro-ip.blogspot.com/2010/06/arrest-of-beautful-at-game.html

MARQUES does not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this blog. The views are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of MARQUES. Seek professional advice before action on any information included here.

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