NED 1 JPN 0: Ambush!

BARBARA Castelein and Mirte Nieuwpoort might not be too thrilled right now, but that Dutch beer company must be very pleased with the outcome of their latest World Cup-related ambush marketing stunt.

Castelein and Nieuwpoort are due back in court on Tuesday, accused of breaking South Africa’s merchandise marks act, brought in specifically to guard FIFA’s lucrative commercial rights at the World Cup.

The two women were among 36 who found themselves in trouble at Holland’s match against Denmark in Johannesburg on Monday for wearing orange mini-dresses to advertise a beer. As the beer in question was not an official World Cup sponsor, it rather got FIFA’s goat. (Me? I’m not really bothered about the difference between one beer and another, as I don’t drink.)

FIFA are not coming out of this at all well, with their response coming across as heavy-handed and bringing criticism from the Dutch ambassador to South Africa.

But it has, unquestionably, all been good publicity for that Dutch beer company, four years after they tried a similar stunt in Germany with fans wearing orange lederhosen at one match, which they were ordered to remove – resulting in some supporters watching the remainder of the game in just their pants.

(For reasons that shouldn’t be terribly difficult to fathom, South Africa’s police decided that asking 36 women to remove their dresses wasn’t a practical option.)

The ripples from the lederhosen marketing stunt four years ago spread so far that it ended up as the answer to a question on QI. I can’t remember all the details (such as the question), but I’m pretty sure that Alan Davies said something cheeky and Stephen Fry shook his head and said: “Oh, Alan.”

No ambush marketing in Durban this afternoon – once a tournament is probably enough. The only surprise was that Wesley Sneijder appears to have mastered the jabulani after a barrage of wayward free kicks, blasting in a winner early in the second half which Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima palmed from one corner of the goal into the other.

It just about ensured Holland a place in the last 16, and their fans may be celebrating with a beer tonight. Might be an idea to keep the orange mini-dress with the beer company logo in the wardrobe, though. (I’ve thrown mine out, since you ask.)

This is promising to be a decent World Cup for Holland, which is more than can be said for England. On the subject of which, it’s time to check out the mood in the England camp again. I don’t think this is going to be pretty.

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