APCON, NFF threaten STAR’s N100 million World Cup campaign

Indications emerged at the weekend that Nigeria Breweries Plc may have incurred the wrath of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) over what industry watchers called ambush marketing as well as ‘infringement of advertising codes’.

Star Lager BeerAn industry source revealed that the regulatory body, APCON may sanction Nigeria Breweries Plc STAR #ShineOnNigeria campaign over the violation of its guidelines and standards.

The brewery giant has however denied any wrongdoing.

A source from NB Plc, who said he was not speaking in official capacity, argued that ambush marketing is legal as long as one does not infringe on the trade mark. “World Cup is a platform that every brand would like to use to engage consumers but it is created in a way that only one brand from a segment in the same market can acquire the right to leverage properly.”

Under chapter Three (special provisions) in the APCON alcoholic beverages regulations, Article 32 (b) 33(b) 34(b) 35(b) clearly states that “children, sportsmen/women and pregnant women shall nor be used as models” in advertising alcoholic beverages.”

Nigeria Breweries is said to have violated the above rule by using its popular brand, Star to endorse former Super Eagles Internationals as its brand ambassadors, thereby showcasing advertising communications with these models.

This advertisement is said to have been carried out without any agreement with the NFF which is the property owner of the Super Eagles legends by virtue of their status as ex internationals.

In an earlier a letter to Nigeria Breweries Plc, NFF General Secretary, Barrister Musa Amadu, decried the fact that the company had “launched communication materials across Nigeria featuring ex-players of the Super Eagles, giving the impression that you are an official sponsor of the team.”

The NFF added that it was only Guinness Nigeria Plc that has such right since it was its official sponsors.

Amadu added: “We have equally noticed other outdoor materials with un-named faces in green and white jerseys all in an attempt to associate with the Super Eagles’ participation at the forthcoming FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil, and gain undue advantage”.

“We declare that this is nothing but blatant market ambushing and this is not only uncalled –for, but highly unprofessional.”

The Federation went ahead to issue Nigerian Breweries Plc a seven-day ultimatum within which to remove the said materials on billboards and other outdoor materials, “failing which the NFF and Guinness will take legal action against NB PLC and seek appropriate damages.”

It would be recalled that less than a year ago, there was an outcry on the seemingly double standards in regulatory approval in the alcoholic beverage industry involving the two brewing giants.

Analysts have queried why Nigeria Breweries was allowed to advertise its premium lager beer on UEFA Champions League matches broadcast before 8.p.m while Guinness Nigeria was sanctioned on the same and instructed to withdraw the advertisement its brand during English Premiership League. It is also understood that some materials exposed during UEFA & La Liga matches before 10:00pm also have bottle packs of their products Star & Heineken, which hitherto was not acceptable.