Battle of the Brands? Will Pelé Overshadow the World Cup and the Olympics?


At the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, the Olympic flag was handed over to the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, marking the beginning of the final lap of the race to the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Before that, Brazil will be the chosen nation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the South American country is counting on Pelé, considered by many to be the greatest soccer player of all time, to carry the marketing of both events on his shoulders.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, as Pelé was born, is revered in his native country, where he is no stranger to having his name being used to market everything from pizzas to coffee. And since he has already been in the news commenting on Brazil’s infrastructural shortcomings ahead of the two major sporting events coming up, his country has enlisted his help in promoting both the World Cup and the Olympics. Brand Pelé was already at work at the closing ceremony in London, when he tossed his hat off and waved at the and wildly cheering crowd. And now, a sports and media marketing firm has negotiated for the right to use all intellectual property associated with Pelé as brand extensions in megadeals with some of the world’s biggest companies. Without a doubt then, he is set to become a household name all over the world again. This time however, he will be immortalized as an entity, and not just an individual.

But, is there a possibility of Brand Pelé eclipsing both Brand FIFA World Cup and Brand Olympics? As London 2012 showed, money is not the only thing that drives consumer loyalty anymore, and it cannot solely be used to buy goodwill. It seems like interactive marketing, especially the kind that makes the public feel on par, rather than lesser than the brand, are the order of the day. With Pelé’s history of philanthropic work, his affable persona and the genuine respect and adoration he is given, it seems that the football legend is already a force to be reckoned with, something that is only going to balloon with his new marketing deals. The question is, can the Olympics and FIFA hold their own in his presence, or will they become subsidiary events of Pelé’s — and Brazil’s upcoming marketing bonanza?

As a bonus, here’s a video montage of all 12 of Pelé’s historic World Cup goals. Not that I’m a fan or anything.

Image credit: scarface60501, Photobucket:


About: Mekhala Chaubal

Mekhala is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, Canada with an interest in all areas of intellectual property (IP) law in a transnational context, privacy rights, and the development of IP in emerging economies. She is currently immersed in learning about innovation, entrepreneurship and the finer points of patent, copyright and trade-mark law as IP Legal Assistant.

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