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Why BrewDog’s ‘Anti-Sponsoring’ World Cup Campaign May Land Them In Trouble

Wednesday, 16 November 2022 By David Cakebread, Brinsley Dresden

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup now less than a week away, the minds of the football-watching public are turning to Qatar.  Given Qatar's human rights record and various other question marks hanging over the legitimacy of the country's bid to host the tournament, many outside of the football community (including brands) are paying closer attention than they would be normally.  

As explored in a recent article on the subject by Alex Kelham, this political spotlight provides prime conditions for ambush marketing campaigns.  Ambush is normally associated with businesses trying to pass themselves off as sponsors of an event in order to benefit from the goodwill generated by it. But it is also not uncommon for opportunistic brands to seize upon excitement and interest surrounding events, even if such interest is (as with the Qatar World Cup) largely critical or negative.

Earlier this week, BrewDog (the Scottish brewery) proclaimed itself, through a series of physical billboards and online posts, the "Proud Anti-Sponsor of the World F*Cup".  This punchy strapline is backed up by a claim on BrewDog’s website that it will donate the profits from all sales of its Lost Lager during the World Cup to human rights charities.

This article explores the marketing campaign run by BrewDog along with the criticisms of the campaign and potential legal issues that may arise.

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Written by

David Cakebread

David Cakebread

David is an Associate in the Digital, Commerce & Creative practice group at Lewis Silkin with a particular focus on the sports, media and entertainment sectors.

Brinsley Dresden

Brinsley Dresden

Brinsley is the Partner that leads the Advertising & Marketing Law Sector Focus Group at Lewis Silkin, as well as the sole UK member of the Global Advertising Lawyers’ Alliance. 


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