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Kulula designing another SWC ad

2010-03-19 23:09


Johannesburg - Kulula was already designing another advertisement to replace one that soccer body FIFA forced them to withdraw, a spokesperson said on Friday.

Heidi Brauer, marketing director for the airline, said the offending advertisement was part of a campaign to communicate to passengers that it was not charging higher prices for the World Cup.

"The media was quite vocal about high prices from the airlines and hotel industry and this was the first advertisement in the campaign that communicates this to passengers," she said.

"There will definitely be another ad."

Brauer said FIFA lawyers sent a letter to the airline to force them to withdraw the advertisement about a week after it was first published.

The 'you-know-what'

"They felt we pushed the limits of their copyright too far," said Brauer.

Kulula published the advertisement that they were the "Unofficial national carrier of the 'You-know-what'," a couple of weeks ago. The advertisement in the usual Kulula green and blue was framed with soccer balls, vuvuzelas, soccer players and the South African flag.

FIFA has copyright on the use of these symbols in conjunction with each other.

FIFA spokesperson Wolfgang Eichler said its lawyers contacted Kulula and drew attention to the advert's breach of South African law against ambush marketing by seeking to gain a promotional benefit for the Kulula brand by creating an unauthorised association with the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

"For the record, FIFA did not tell Kulula that they could not use soccer balls or the word 'South Africa' or the Cape Town stadium or the national flag or vuvuzelas," said Eichler.

"FIFA made it clear that it was the combination of all of these elements plus the phrase 'unofficial national carrier of the 'you-know-what' ', a soccer player in close proximity to a soccer ball and the Kulula trade mark in the advertisement which constituted the act of ambush marketing and thereby breached s15A of the Merchandise Marks Act."

Fifa asked Kulula to withdraw the advertisement and to stop using the Kulula trademark "in relation to the tournament in a manner which is calculated to achieve publicity for that mark and thereby to derive special promotional benefit for it from the event".

It also asked Kulula to stop the misrepresentation that it had any connection in the course of trade with the World Cup.

Brauer said Kulula was aware of FIFA's copyright rules, but felt the soccer body was "a bit over the top".

"We knew we were on the edge and pushing the limits but that's what Kulula does," she said.

"We think it is a bit extreme to claim association with the representation of everything that relates to the World Cup belongs to FIFA. It belongs to South Africa. South Africa belongs to South Africa."

Current in SA

Brauer said Kulula respected other companies' trademarks, but that did not mean they understood or agreed with FIFA's position.

"We portrayed the SA flag, soccer balls, soccer players, vuvuzelas. That's what's going on in South Africa at the moment," she said.

"Their point was that we were trying to make ourselves look like an official sponsor, which was not our intention at all."

FIFA was not immediately available for comment.