The story of ITV pundit Robbie Earle getting fired for passing his tickets for Monday’s Netherlands vs. Denmark match to a Dutch beer company Bavaria has gotten even stranger. Two women have been arrested by Johannesburg police for their alleged role in sending a group of over 30 women in orange mini-dresses to advertise on behalf of the brewer.
The women are being prosecuted under the Contravention of Merchandise Marks Act which covers ambush marketing, when a company benefits from an event without paying for advertising.South African police arrested the women at their hotel in the Johannesburg district of Roodepoort on Wednesday. “We view ambush marketing in a very serious light and we urge people not to embark on these ambush campaigns,” police said in a statement. The women appeared at Johannesburg Magistrates Court and were released on bail of 10,000 rand ($1300) each, with their next court appearance set for Monday.
FIFA claims it didn’t press charges against the two women who are accused of organizing the stunt, but with all that’s keeping South African police busy at the moment, it seems odd that they would pursue such an innocuous case without a bit of encouragement. And that kind of encouragement seems well within FIFA’s iron-fisted protection of their official sponsors — sponsors like Budweiser, which paid millions to be the official beer of the World Cup.
And while FIFA denies pressing charges against those Dutch ladies, Robbie Earle — the man who passed on the tickets that started this whole mess — denies profiting from transaction in any way. Says Earle: “Call me naive but I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. “I hope when people hear the full story they will see me in a different light.”
Yes, Robbie, people will be very interested to hear that full story when it does come out. Anything involving 30 Dutch women in orange mini-dresses tends to get attention (AP/IM)