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FIFA Forces Footbal Fans to Shed Shorts; Budweiser Blamed

As many as 1,000 Dutch World Cup fans had to turn in their pants before entering a stadium in Stuttgart, Germany because the orange lederhosen (complete with lion's tale) carried a logo for a Dutch Brewery, UPI reports (via MediaBuyerPlanner). Since Budweiser owns exclusive beer advertising and promotional rights at the World Cup, FIFA determined that the logo-bearing lederhosen constituted advertising, so stadium officials made the Dutch fans shed their logos - and therefore pants - before they could enter.

According to FIFA officials, the short trousers were an attempt at so-called ambush marketing - where a company tries to gain free publicity - and they had to act to protect the interests of sponsors, BBC News reports. (A spokesman for the Dutch brewer, speaking on NPR, meanwhile likened the move to making fans who wore, say, Nike sneakers remove their footwear. He rejected the "ambush" label, saying the lederhosen were purchased by fans ahead of time, not at the stadium - and so likened their confiscation to property theft by FIFA.)

The scandal is just the latest in what could be called a PR nightmare for Budweiser, which paid $40 million for the World Cup beer monopoly. Fans don't like the beer, Adrants reports. The Germans call it Spuelwasser, which roughly translates as dishwater, according to The Nation. Germans have even set up an anti-Bud website - Bud Out.

"We respect the Germans' pride in their beer," said Tony Ponturo, VPof global media and sports marketing for Anheuser-Busch, quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer. "But we are proud of Budweiser and what it's about. We think this is about giving consumers a choice."

But many fans think that Budweiser isn't giving them choices. One Blog has an article titled "How to Avoid Drinking Budweiser at the World Cup."

In addition, there already is a product in Germany with a comparable name, so Budweiser is not allowed to use its own name. The company must sell its product under the name Anheuser-Busch Bud, UPI reports.


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