SKINS, a sportswear company, appointed itself as the first-ever official NON-sponsor of FIFA, protesting the treatment of World Cup migrant workers in Qatar. According to SKINS, advocating for non-commercial issues “will be great for the business” in the long run.
Narrator: “For 17 long years, FIFA had let corruption ruin football. Strangely, no one was attacking the sponsors despite them funding the regime.”
[FIFA Sponsor Logos: Hyundai, Visa, Gaxprom, Adidas, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Budweiser]
Narrator: “How could SKINS get them to use their billion-dollar influence to force FIFA to clean up? We subverted the very notion of sponsorship and became the world’s first official non-sponsor of FIFA.”
Jamie Fuller, SKINS Chairman: “Pure sport is at the heart of everything we do, and we needed a non-sponsorship partner that would unmatch these values perfectly.”
Narrator: “The campaign parodied all of the traditional tactics of sponsorship to full effect.”
Child: “Can we have football back, please?”
Narrator: “A full-page ad in Sepp’s local paper meant he had to listen. SKINS attracted huge media attention. When FIFA social media manager called us out, the public reaction made it clear it was FIFA that was offside. The campaign became about more than just pure sport. It got down to basic human rights. It exposed the sponsors’ hypocrisy in turning a blind eye to the worker conditions in Qatar. SKINS then distributed a fake Herald Tribune outside FIFA HQ in front of the world’s press. It challenged the status quo with ironic good news stories about FIFA reform. The sponsors started to listen. SKINS had placed themselves at the center of football’s biggest ever scandal. Chairman Jamie Fuller became the media’s go-to spokesperson for industry reaction. The campaign generated more than 50 million dollars in publicity for SKINS, but more importantly it had worked. Sepp Blatter agreed to step down, and the ultimate goal of the campaign was achieved. In consultation with SKINS, the sponsors brought their influence in demanding change at FIFA. The fight for pure sport continues.”
SKINS Campaign to Reform FIFA
FIFA, the governing association of football (aka soccer), is best known for running the World Cup. But FIFA is also known for its alleged corruption, including: bribery, coercion, cronyism, and vote-rigging.
SKINS Compression Sportswear is a U.K.-based sportswear brand. SKINS appointed itself the first-ever “official non-sponsor” of FIFA, highlighting its “unshared brand values” at OfficialNonSponsor.com
The Hypocrisy World Cup
On May 18, 2015, SKINS published The Hypocrisy World Cup video to its official YouTube page, announcing: “SKINS Pure Sport and international workers’ unions have today joined forces with #NewFIFANow to demand that FIFA sponsors accept their corporate responsibility and challenge human rights abuses at World Cup infrastructure construction sites in Qatar. This is part of an ongoing campaign by #NewFIFANow, together with SKINS, for reform of FIFA.”
Qatar World Cup Labour Camp
Jamie Fuller, SKINS Chairman, was smuggled into a Qatar Labour Camp, where he exposed alleged human rights abuses. Fuller shows the living conditions experienced by Qatar’s World Cup migrant workers.
For SKINS, Advocacy is a Marketing Tactic
According to Jamie Fuller, SKINS Chairman: “In the long run, (advocating for non-commercial issues) will be great for the business… This is part of a marketing strategy… If we can harness the opportunity to champion reform and do things that are positive… If we can couple that with an ability to grow our brand and generate commercial success, isn’t that an amazing story to be able to tell and show other brands that this can be done.”