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Brazil 2014 – What disaster?
14/07/2014

Brazil has been a spectacular and exciting phenomenal. On and off the pitch it’s given us the best World Cup in living memory. I was lucky enough to be working there and experience the joy, drama and sheer intensity of a nation of fans draped in gold erupting into bedlam whenever the ‘Selacao’ took to the pitch.

And yet just three months ago the world’s media predicted meltdown. Talks of unfinished stadiums civil unrest, unprecedented levels of crime, violence and prostitution all drove the media terror. It was underpinned by a sneering contemptuous view of a third world country that couldn’t run a bath never mind a globally significant sporting tournament. Event Magazine asked me for my thoughts the challenges around preparation in the build up.

“It’s a nation with live events at the heart of its culture. From carnivals to festival Rock in Rio, Brazil is no stranger to hosting mass participation events. This is a mature sector with a vast amount of experience… However, for all its problems, it’s an amazing country that loves football and loves to party. The World Cup will be one hell of a party, possibly the best ever.”

We set up an office in Rio two years ago and I’ve seen Brazil behind the scenes. It has it’s own cultural blueprint for doing things and you have to learn to roll with it. We were in Rio working with two of our clients, Nike and the FA and you have to adapt to a different pace to get things done. But the one thing I learnt about Brazil was the show always goes on and the show is always incredible.

Well they did it. Having been at the heart of the action in a working capacity I visited three host cities and partied in the FIFA Fan Fest on Copacobana. I can categorically say without reservation it was the best event I have ever been to. Yes a few stadia were a bit scrappy round the edges but for the world’s media and travelling fans they were spectacular. The planes ran on time, unrest was almost non-existent, crime was not an issue, the worlds fans were amazing and the football unparalleled.

From a brand point of view execution on the ground was excellent. From the Bud Hotel to the experiential zones at each stadium the campaigns and activations were of a really high calibre. Media behemoth Globo created a 360 experience that was the most immersive I have ever seen in football although I’m still confused about the destination marketing spend by Mexico on Copacobana. Once again Coke shone with a totally integrated campaign that just joined up, and just made sense on every channel.

I knew the Brazilians would never let anything get in the way of a party on the seismic scale of a World Cup. Even I wasn’t quite prepared for just how good it would be. The only disaster for the host nation was their 7-1 drubbing by Germany. No preparation for the World Cup could ever have mitigated such a shocking performance. I hope they get over it and concentrate on what an amazing job they did off the pitch.
Read Steve’s original comments from Event Magazine here

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