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Case Study

:
THE DARKER SIDE
OF THE WORLD CUP

I’m Sarah.

In my day job, I run
Global Neuroscience Practice

‘s

Last September, I swapped the world of
brains, behaviour and brands for a new
kind of communications challenge.
I took part in a project with
in Recife, in the North East of Brazil.
I spent a month working with a group of
NGOs to find ways for communications to

help fight the human rights abuses
occurring during preparation for the
2014 FIFA World Cup

When Brazil were awarded the world cup back in 2007, the decision was met with cheers and
excitement the world over.
One of the most passionate footballing nations was going to host the biggest, most exciting
tournament in the world.
Football was coming home.

But as with many big global events, hosting t
World Cup has a darker side too.

Since being awarded both the World Cup and
2016 Olympics, the Brazilian government has
made a big commitment to regeneration, with
promises of pacification of favelas and touris
friendly transport systems.

However, a large part of this regeneration ha
involved ‘cleaning up’ areas around stadiums
Often these stadiums are being built in very p
areas, and a lot of the people living there are
forcibly evicted from their homes.

As literacy and access to independent inform
advice are both very limited, this often means
people being ‘tricked’ into signing away their
homes. By the time they realise they’ve been
tricked, there’s nothing they can do to avoid b
evicted.

Comitê Popular da Copa is a group of NGOs, universities and social forums, led by
Habitat for Humanity.
They are united by the aim of fighting for the human and housing rights of poor
people in these regeneration areas, to make sure the World Cup doesn’t create a
housing, health and humanitarian crisis for Brazil’s poor.

I was working alongside an experimental agency made up of a team of
advertising students at a local university. Together, our job was to work with the
Comitê to find a way that communications could help them meet their aims.

Plan and launch a communicatio
campaign that will help secu

for all families and business
forced out of their home

There are two main mechanisms that might motivate the government to change their stance:

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FIFA could impose sanctions and start
punishing governments for exploitations of
human rights in the name of the world cup.

Given the timings (30 days), the
campaign budget (R$4000), and
our number of contacts at FIFA
(none), we figured we probably
weren’t going to be able to
influence this that much!

There are two main mechanisms that might motivate the government to change their stance:

The other route was to make the government fear that by not acting,
they risked losing public support.
Crucially for us, being the year that state governor Eduardo Campo
hopes to run for President of Brazil, losing public votes was not
something they could afford to do.
So this is exactly what we set out to make them fear.

Garner widespread,

highly
visible

The aim of our campaign:

support for a
pressure campaign
urging the
government to pay
fairer compensation
to those it has
displaced

33%

15%

28%

YES
20%

NO

12%

85%

ARE YOU AWARE THAT PEOPLE IN RECIFE ARE
BEING EVICTED FROM THEIR HOMES FOR THE
WORLD CUP?

2%

5%

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE SITUATION?

A bit of research showed us that there were a number of jobs to be done with communications:
INFORM: Raise awareness of the issues amongst the wider population
ENABLE: Give people a way that they can show their support
MOTIVATE: Create the desire to force a change

News and media in Brazil
are largely state
controlled.
The chances of us being
able to buy any ATL
advertising space or get
any PR coverage that
was critical of the
government were pretty
much non-existent.
We had to think
creatively, and create our
own media.

We created a campaign for people to unite behind under the banner of ‘Nós Valemos Mais’ –
‘We’re worth more’.
A message to unite a city, and let the government know that when
they treat any of their citizens poorly, they harm us all.

We set up digital hubs through which we could share information,
demonstrate support, and get people to take simple actions to add their
voices to the message

We gathered real stories
from those being evicted
and turned them into
images that could be
shared.
'Dona Josefa' is losing not only
her house, but also her
business. She owns a few
properties in Camaragibe, from
which she makes all her income.
The government offered less
than 10% of the value for each
property.

We photographed
the abandoned
buildings waiting to
be demolished and
used these as the
backdrops for our
campaign

…and we used those
buildings marked for
eviction near busy bus
routes as a free
outdoor media to
graffiti our messages
on to
(with their owner’s
permission, of course!)

We got up in the middle of the night to set up installations in popular middle class
beaches and parks, to drive awareness of the evictions.
And took along iPads to get people to sign up to our campaign there and then.

The installations
were unusual
an surprising
enough that
people took to
sharing their
own snaps and
tweets

DAY 1

DAY 2

DAY 3
Within 72 hours our facebook posts
had been served to 90,000 people
in Recife.
If nothing else, that's 90,000 people
who now know what's happening
that probably didn't before.
(For the total sum of $44 in media
spend)

Engagement with the campaign was immense,
with a click-through rate and organic sharing
way above that normally seen for Facebook
messages.
But this was just the start. WE started to build an
audience for the Comité, but it was over to them
to carry on growing and motivating it – long after
I’d gone home.
So the last part of our campaign was to create
guidance and guidelines to enable the Comité to
keep posting, and keep people engaged.

Whilst local NGOs and pressure groups can
lobby governments from the ground up, only
FIFA really have the power to enforce any
standards on any great scale.

At the moment, there is nothing motivating
them to do this.
But if their major corporate
backers started to care, there might be.

SPONSORS
HAVE THE POWER
TO MAKE FIFA ACT

SPONSOR
BRANDS

Millward Brown works with many of the major global sponsors of FIFA and
the world cup in multiple markets.

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MAJOR SPONSORS OF
GLOBAL EVENTS LIKE
THE WORLD CUP

Was there the opportunity to use our relationships with those clients to
highlight the risks to brands with being associated with such atrocities?
If brands knew of the risks to their reputations, would it encourage
them to take more responsibility as sponsors of these events in future?

Once back in my day job, I ran a study looking at measuring
people’s instinctive feelings towards the 2014 World Cup and the
brands that sponsor it, to investigate the impact that awareness of
these negative issues has on people’s opinions of sponsor brands

The data showed that by the end of the tournament, virtually everyone in
Brazil was aware of issues around corruption and the expense of the
tournament - and well over half had heard of forced relocations!
Delays in the construction of stadiums

97%

Tickets too expensive for part of population

96%

Usage of public funds for stadiums construction

94%

Corruption

94%
90%

Political misdoings

83%

Transport system not ready for the event

61%

Forced relocations

53%

Breaches of workers’ rights
Human rights abuses
Ban of unauthorised merchandising

47%
36%

Awareness of issue

The government misled
the population, saying
they would not spend a
penny of public money in
the hosting of the World
Cup – but they have
spent billions of our
money!

Even outside of Brazil, awareness of these negative issues was growing
with international pressure mounting on FIFA to take more action
Post-tournament

Pre-tournament

60%

Delays in the construction of stadiums

45%

Tickets too expensive for part of population

50%

44%

Corruption

35%

Political misdoings

61%
41%

44%

Transport system not ready for the event

28%

Forced relocations

39%

Human rights abuses

18%

51%

32%

41%

Breaches of workers’ rights

Ban of unauthorised merchandising

59%

31%

Usage of public funds for stadiums construction

68%

44%
41%

23%

Awareness of issue

I love the World Cup. However I
feel that the body that governs
the World cup is corrupt…This
World Cup has been high in
tension because FIFA didn't take
into account the expense of the
tournament and how that would
effect the very poor under belly
of Brazil. I think the head of
FIFA Sepp Blatter should stand
down.

BRAND 1

BRAND 2

The study showed the potential negative impacts of the increasing
awareness of issues like corruption and political dishonesty on people’s
perceptions of the brands that link themselves to the tournament.
This gave us the opportunity to talk to our clients about this risk, and
what they could do to prevent these issues in future events.

The whole experience of doing a
project completely surpassed all expectations. I
am hugely proud of the team, the work we produced and the amount of success we managed to
have in a limited timeframe on a very limited budget.
It was an incredibly experience, and I want to say a huge thankyou to thank everyone who gave
their time, money, ideas and enthusiasm to making it work.
Particular thanks must go to Philippa and Michael at TIE, WPP for supporting the placement,
and Millward Brown for letting me go – and indulging me and letting me run the project when I
got back!

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