Budweiser distances itself from ambush marketing affair

June 18, 2010

American beer company Budweiser has spoken out over the ambush marketing affair that has caused a storm at this summer’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

36 women were evicted from Holland’s game against Denmark for wearing orange dresses associated with Bavaria Beer, which is not an official sponsor of the tournament, and therefore a breach of FIFA regulations.

Two women from the group, Barbara Castelein and Minte Immy Niewpoort, who are alleged to have masterminded the stunt are now facing criminal charges.

But Budweiser, which is an official sponsor of the tournament, has released a statement making it clear it had nothing to do with beginning proceedings against the women.

The statement read: “We first learned about this issue through media stories and reporter inquiries. FIFA did apprise us of the situation as part of their regular sponsor communications after the incident was handled.

“We had nothing to do with FIFA’s decision to remove these women from the stadium or the steps taken afterwards. Please understand that our position as a sponsor of the World Cup does not give us such decision-making authority.

“Although AB InBev (Budweiser parent company) is an official sponsor of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, FIFA remains the sole decision maker in regards to tournament issues both on and off the field.

“We want to be clear that we did not provide FIFA or South African authorities any counsel on the issue involving Bavaria – we are not and have not been involved.

“We understand there is an active investigation underway by the local authorities, and out of respect for that process and the parties involved, we will not provide any further comment.”

The two women face charges under the Merchandise Marks Act and the Special Measures Regulations, but Bavaria Beer has said it will do all it can to try and help them out.

A statement from the company said: “Unfortunately Bavaria has been drawn into the furore surrounding the arrest of the two ladies who were wearing an orange dress also worn by thousands of Dutch ladies and football supporters.

“There is no way FIFA can hold these ladies responsible for their attendance at the match in their Dutch dress in Soccer City and Bavaria is currently doing everything in its power to assist the arrested Dutch ladies.

“Bavaria will ask FIFA to immediately stop intimidating Dutch dresses female supporters.”

ITV pundit Robbie Earle was also caught up in the incident when he was sacked by the broadcaster, as it was his tickets that were used by the women to attend the game.