Dilemma faced by global brands in the midst of the FIFA corruption revelations

Hi all,

The FIFA corruption scandal has been described as the organization’s worst in 151 years of its existence and potentially the cause of its eventual demise.  It states itself to be a non-for-profit which makes auditing it much more difficult, but somehow has $1.5 Billion in its coffers.

The perspective I want to focus on is the dilemma that is being faced by global brands like AB-Inbev (i.e. Budweiser), KIA, Coca-cola and others.  They are being pressured more acutely by activists on social media to pull their sponsorship from FIFA events such as the quadrennial FIFA World Cups.  This scandal has amplified the recent revelations that for the past 5 years more than 1200 foreign temp workers in Qatar have died building the venues for the the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament, because of what has been described as modern day slavery, where workers have been denied water despite working in 50+ degrees C temperatures, seizing of passports to prevent them from leaving Qatar and even denying many Nepalese workers the chance to attend the funerals of their families after the recent earth quake.

As the article from adweek says: “There has been a harsh social-media response to FIFA and its partners, with one anti-ads group posting pictures of brands’ logos reimagined as promoting human rights abuses.”

Key question is: What do the global brands do in light of these revelations, aside from statements of condemnation?  Where does the promise of exposure to billions of potential customers through advertising with FIFA intersect with their duty as fellow humans to take action against Qatar’s appalling human rights record?

I urge the class to check out the FB page for modified ads showing the culpability of FIFA’s partners in these abuses, and the main article posted here:

http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/vilified-world-cup-brands-should-wonder-if-fifa-sponsorship-worth-trouble-165024

Posted by: Yusuf Hasan

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