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Let Brazil Be Brazil: A World Cup Update

Last month, the world watched (many on TV, many more virtually) as the 2014 FIFA World Cup Draw determined the groupings and order of play for next summer’s World Cup.

Here on the ground we’re already seeing some marketing initiatives in place and active, mostly promotions with tickets. There’s also some last minute buzz in the domestic hospitality market, mainly around non-sponsors of the World Cup and sponsors of the Brazilian National team.

FIFA has sent a strong brand protection team to Brazil, trying to protect the interests of sponsors and commercial partners, but the limits imposed by legislation are weak. I believe that we will see a lot of activities that could technically be considered ambush marketing, but that the brands will argue are legal. Some of these are very creative (such as the Fiat campaign during the Confederations Cup), others are less attractive, and I wonder if they really contribute positively to the brands they represent.

And the latest news we have tells us that the hospitality tickets are sold out or very near it. If you are willing to come to the world’s biggest celebration of soccer (and hopefully witness our sixth world championship) you’d better move fast.

Development Update

Last June, when we launched this countdown, I wrote about 5 main points: The logistical challenges of air transportation. Venue access and security issues. Telecom and data challenges. Sponsors’ late communication efforts. And finally, the importance of the big picture.

The process continues to be challenging. The airport infrastructure won’t be 100% finished, with meteorological conditions threatening severe delays and even cancellations.Six of the twelve competition venues are still under construction, with due dates that have been repeatedly postponed. Plus due to the accident at the São Paulo venue, it is now scheduled to be completed in April, just 2 months before the opening game. And hotels? There just aren’t enough of them in Rio, despite the very high prices.

So, not the best organization so far.

But let me ask you one thing: Does someone come to Brazil expecting to find the flawless organization and perfectly polished structures served up by London during the Olympic Games? Really?

Let Brazil Be Brazil

The World Cup is here, in Brazil, for a reason, and will be a great, global celebration of soccer. At the end of the day, the logistical challenges will be addressed and forgotten after a nice “chopp” (draft beer) at the end of the day at Ipanema Beach, or in Salvador, Recife, or Fortaleza, our northeastern wonders.

Brazilians are naturally great hosts, and I’m sure we will enchant the world in this matter. You will love our food, our landscape, our music, our culture. You will love the game you came to enjoy! We will welcome you and show you a great time. Just please don’t ask us to cheer for another country. This would be too much.

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