18 May 2009
About a year before the 2006 World Cup got under way, Germany experienced something of a social revolution.
Like South Africa, Germany had no shortage of “baggage”, with serious divisions in that society. It took the launch of a major initiative branded around the World Cup to unite the country.
Government, big business and citizens backed a holistic brand campaign which improved the economy, attracted international investment and helped to produce a spectacular tournament.
If the developments of the last few weeks are anything to go by, this could be the turning point for the hosts of the next edition of the tournament.
Firstly, months of political uncertaintly came to an end with the inauguration of Jacob Zuma, who used the occasion to emphasis that South Africa will deliver a world class tournament “that will forever change the perceptions of the international community”.
At the same time, Indaba 2009 in Durban saw the launch of South African Tourism’s diski dance television and film commercial to leverage the country’s status as 2010 World Cup hosts. The travel trade show, one of the top three in the world, also saw the launch of SA Tourism’s 2010 campaign website, as well as a specifically designed Indaba 2010 mobisite.
In addition, the International Marketing Council of South Africa, custodian of the country’s national brand, launched a major campaign to spark enthusiasm and unite the country and the continent behind the Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup.
Anchoring the campaign are two impressive television adverts, one inviting Africa to rally behind the 2010 World Cup, the other celebrating ordinary South Africans as the heroes who will make the World Cup a success.
With the so-called “Festival of Champions” now just a month away, this country is surely on the brink of a revolution which will draw in millions of people celebrating this extraordinary opportunity to rebrand the country – and the rest of the continent – forever.
Urquhart is a former Fifa World Cup media officer and the current editor of Project 2010