As the World Cup gets nearer and the media attention reaches fever pitch, it is impossible in the UK to escape the media spotlight placed on the tournament.
In England the tournament is everywhere; billboards, radio stations, televisions and the internet, nowhere and no one is safe.
It seems as if every company is jumping on the World Cup bandwagon to flog their wares; from the tangibly sport related sports companies and television manufacturers, to the more tediously sport linked chocolate bar producers and banks.
Whilst the focus on the World Cup as an advertising strategy in a football dominated country like England is understandable, it is the contradictions and ironies that have struck me as corporations chase the money.
I understand that no company can afford to miss the multi million pound World Cup boat, but this is getting a little bit out of hand, as companies jostle to appear the most patriotic.
A classic example for this is Carlsberg’s current campaign, following the infamous, “If Carlsberg did…” theme. The advert features a mock teamtalk to the England players before a World Cup game.
As the team leave the changing rooms, the tunnel is crammed full of English sporting heroes, media and fans roaring their encouragement. Every inch of the tunnel is lined with famous faces, with the narrator giving an inspiring team talk.
This scene features Olympic greats such as Denise Lewis and Steve Redgrave and a myriad of other English sporting heroes, with an image of the recently departed Bobby Robson prompting the team talk narrator to ask the unidentified players to ‘do it for Bobby’.
The advert reaches a crescendo as the narrator ends his team talk urging the England players to become immortal. At the same time Bobby Moore beckons the team forward in an iconic pose, ball under his arm walking towards the pitch, the advert then finishes with a message of support for the England team from Carlsberg.
This advert and its images are fantastically done and will get the blood pumping through the veins of any English fan looking forward to this year’s World Cup.
Carlsberg for example have produced a very creditable and dare I say it inspiring World Cup advert, the irony however being that whilst Carlsberg has some UK operations is predominantly a Danish company.
This is not a huge deal, but the irony did irk me a little bit, the ‘If Carlsberg did team-talks‘ tagline is clever and effective, however I cannot help but wonder if a less cliche advert would have been more appropriate.
I do not watch much foreign televison, but I can imagine that Carlsberg like a host of other companies will be pledging support for a plethora of nations simultaneously during the World Cup to foster a patriotic image.
Carlsberg however are not unique, in England every company seems to feel the need to declare its support for the English national team, whatever its roots.
I know that the fickle nature of advertising cannot be avoided, yet I cannot see what competitive edge this brings. Whilst anti-England sentiments would likely cause resentment I cannot feel a consumer making a purchasing choice because a product is one of Englands ‘Official Sponsors’ or was ‘backing England’.
Maybe it is just me, maybe the wall to wall coverage and build up has gotten to me already, already jaded this contradiction has pushed me over the edge in the heat of English World Cup fever.
To emphasise how much hype the tournament is getting in England, yesterday the BBC did a 7 hour live text commentary on the naming of the final 23 man England squad for the tournament. If this signifies the level of coverage now, what is it going to be like come the 11th of June?
I would like to say that apart from my nonsensical rant, the Carlsberg advert itself is absolutely epic, and will pull the heart strings of any Englishman.
Deep down I am also loving the World Cup hype, even if it is a Danish company that epitomised it the best, even if it is cliche and cheesy, even if I am cracking already, the message is clear; England the nation is with you.