Considering a campaign for the summer and wondering whether you can tie in with this year’s football World Cup? You’re not alone. CAP Copy Advice have been receiving more and more enquiries from marketers asking the same thing.

Can we refer to the World Cup under the CAP Code?

If your brand is an official sponsor then the short answer is “yes”. For everybody else, the key Code rules to be aware of are:

3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.

3.43 Marketing communications must not take unfair advantage of the reputation of a competitor’s trade mark, trade name or other distinguishing mark or of the designation of origin of a competing product.

Marketers should not mislead consumers by implying that they are official sponsors when they are not. It’s worth remembering that the ASA will take into account the impression created by an ad as well as specific claims, this means it’s not just the copy but the images which will be considered. Also, the ASA will rule based on the likely effect on consumers, not the marketer’s intentions.

General references to the World Cup or general messages of support for a team which do not imply official sponsorship are likely to be acceptable.

A few years ago the ASA looked at a complaint by a national sporting association against an ad for a beer brand which was not the official sponsor of the England rugby team and called on people to “support English rugby”. The ad did not mention a specific team or event and the advertiser was, in various guises, a financial supporter of English rugby in general. Therefore, the ASA held that the ad was not misleading (although it’s probably worth noting that the ad did not run in a rugby World Cup year).

If you are seeking to reference the World Cup and want to avoid being misleading, Copy Advice can review your proposed copy for free within 24 working hours.

Can we legally refer to the World Cup?

Copy Advice give advice under the CAP Code we do not give legal advice, for that you will need to contact a lawyer. Some professional bodies, such as the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, offer legal advice to their members. As you would expect, FIFA have a very clear view on what they consider appropriate and you can access their published position on the FIFA website.

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