Legal Perspectives of the 2018 Russia World Cup Marketing Campaigns

With only a few months to go until the 2018 World Cup in Russia, companies are starting to prepare their marketing campaigns and promotions to position their brands and boost their growth, taking advantage of this event that generates so much expectation among fans and consumers.

 

Adidas®, for example, as sponsor of the event, launched the new Colombian National Team jersey with a strong campaign on social networks using numerous influencers to encourage its sales. MY BRAND has provided legal advice to multiple companies to conduct marketing campaigns and promotional activities. Thanks to our experience throughout the years with this type of activity in Colombia, we have gathered some important points to take into account to avoid inconveniences:

Ms. Echeverri, founder of the MyBrand firm in Colombia, together with Ms. Noli.

1. Promotional activities that apply to more than one Department or main city are considered to have a national scope and therefore require an authorization from Coljuegos.

2. If the definition of the activity winners are made randomly through luck, regardless of the prize’s value, the company must request Coljuegos’ authorization (national scope) or the designated local authority, depending on the Department or city in which the activity will take place. Failure to comply with the above can lead to legal sanctions. On the contrary, if the definition of the winners depends on the skill and ability of the participants, authorization is not required. For example, when the winner is the person with most likes on Instagram or Facebook.

3. In order to use a person’s image, specifically the players of the national teams, a company must have the proper authorization, otherwise, it may result in sanctions and lawsuits by the players themselves or the football teams to which they belong. This was the case of a fence put in Bucaramanga in 2014 that used not only Falcao García’s image, but the image of the Colombian Football Federation (Colfútbol), associated with the Conservative Party. The above cited fence had to be dismantled after a claim filed by Falcao García. In this regard there are many cases such as Diego Armando Maradona against the video game company Konami for the video game Pro Evolution Soccer, or the case of a possible demand by Chilean players Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sánchez and Gary Medel against the humorist Stefan Kramer for the unauthorized use of their image. The image use authorization must be granted through a contract signed by the player or the person with the legal capacity to do so, regulating each of the circumstances of the case. An invalid authorization will generate economic losses for the company since good faith does not exempt legal compliance. As an example, the historic classification of Panama for the 2018 World Cup in Russia put on alert the Association of Panamanian Footballers so that the image of the players would not be used without their consent.

4. Colfútbol is responsible for protecting the Colombian National Soccer Team’s brands. The use of these brands without prior authorization from Colfútbol entails lawsuits, as was the case of the company CLARO in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when using signs, logos and emblems of the Colombian National Soccer Team.

5. Trademarks are one of FIFA’S most important assets which is why this organization spares no expenses when it comes to claims against infringements of its intellectual property rights. WITHIN 40 DAYS FROM THE START OF THE 2010 SOUTH AFRICA WORLD CUP, FIFA FILED 2,500 LEGAL ACTIONS TO SAFEGUARD ITS TRADEMARK FIFA WORLD CUP. Consequently, it is best to review the applicable regulations and analyze the alternatives available to carry out a promotional activity related with the 2018 Russia World Cup. The value and impact of football in the world’s economy is enormous and the titleholders of rights such as FIFA, National Federations, Clubs and players do not allow others to benefit if there is no marketing agreement.

Due to the above cited, it is of vital importance to make a commercial and legal analysis with the corresponding work teams when conducting an advertising campaign or promotional activity. This analysis will help identify the existing alternatives to carry out the activity and the legal requirements applicable to all digital and printed materials, etc. MY BRAND has the experience to provide legal advice to all types of companies in the development and execution of their campaigns and promotions. We help you anticipate the sanctions or claims that may arise from the activity. Anticipation is key in the process, contact julianae@mybrandlegal.com or juana@mybrandlegal.com and we will advise you how to handle such issues.


 

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Main image credit Diario AS