- Marketing gimmicks. Fifa’s Marketing Alliance Manager Felicity George said the choice of Uganda was informed by the passion we have for our national team.
I have been wondering how I would describe the euphoria that grips Uganda every time an event with the hint of the slightest global appeal comes around. It’s not natural delight – too plastic for joy and yet too devoted for an insincere boo.
And yet this celebratory mood can also be magic. When corporate sponsors, football administrators, school children, and idlers, completely disregard the pouring rain and join hands, it can turn a market-access drive into a national festival. This has never been truer than last Tuesday when a party was spun out of one of the cleverest marketing gimmicks ever, as Coca-Cola brought us a viewing opportunity of the Fifa World Cup trophy.
Business as usual
As stunts go, it is not the worst thing that has ever happened – corporates like Coca-Cola pay an arm and a leg to make these things possible some of which is stuff one can say is far removed from their day-to-day business.
Anyway, seeing as they are not an NGO, they expect returns one way or the other. In this case it was a 500ml bottle of coke at the Lugogo Oval entrace.
And at a more sophisticated level, it’s going to be hard to think about the World Cup without the image of a sweating coke bottle creeping up on you and triggering your thirst.
Now think about the fact that three billion people watched the World Cup in 2014 and you start to see how clever it all is. That’s half of us stuck here on this rocky piece of the galaxy, that Coca-Cola is targeting!
Then in comes the ever-willing bride Fifa and by extension Fufa. Fifa’s Marketing Alliance Manager Felicity George said the choice of Uganda was informed by the passion we have for our national team.
And this was promptly complemented by Fufa president Moses Magogo, who noted this was all a sign of Fifa’s growing confidence in Uganda.
But what is to be made of this Coca Cola-Fifa cohabitation and is this where we should be looking?
As a country, we know we conveniently abdicated our grassroot football development responsibilities to the Coca-Cola Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department. Through its Copa Coca-Cola, they reach thousands of Ugandan footballers under the age of 17 in hundreds of schools.
Also, the last time I checked, Fifa was crediting our federation accounts with over Shs5b annually in development funds.
I would rather we celebrated these two examples of direct influence before we wear, as a badge of honor, the fact that the World Cup trophy has been here twice in eight years and it will not visit any more than 10 countries in Africa.
As for the politicians, I don’t think Magogo and Felicity don’t understand what is needed. They know that their comments don’t make sense – but they also know that they don’t have to.
They just have to sound patriotic and the logic will be drowned out by the chatter of eager school children and the clutter of tedious selfies.