You have got to hand it to some companies for seizing an opportunity when they see one. There’s no doubt that during any sporting event, cameras will seek out the gorgeous women in the crowd, and the World Cup is no different. So when Paraguayan fan/model Larissa Riquelme started getting a lot of airtime, companies decided to cash in.
Men’s grooming company Axe, hoping to drum up some tidy PR, decided to use her much publicized chest to promote their company. A deal was struck to have their logo temporarily tattooed on the left hand side of her chest. As many would have seen throughout the World Cup, Larissa likes to wear tops that don’t leave much to the imagination, thus allowing such a billboard to be displayed. Kudos must be given to the marketing team that came up with this idea. Photos of the model have gone viral, and are consistently linked around the web, resulting in the massive amount of publicity for what one would think would be a relatively small outlay.
However, Axe wasn’t the only ones to use Larissa, with Nokia jumping on board as well. The scantly clad fan would often keep her Nokia E71 tucked into either her top strap or in her cleavage. Shots throughout the game would also show her using the phone. The effectiveness of this sponsorship must be questioned, as it was often difficult to tell what phone she was actually using. The Nokia E71 looks very similar to a Blackberry, and a quick straw poll resulted in many thinking she was actually using a Blackberry. Many viewers would probably have thought that there was no sponsorship associated with her phone as it wasn’t as predominately displayed as the Axe logo.
This scenario highlights what could be a new wave of advertising in the future. Though ‘Human Billboards’ have been used in the past (think Boxing), it’s the the avenue of utilizing and exhausting a greater slice of media coverage that could attract another category of sponsorship. Will companies begin to place ‘fans’ around arenas with sponsor branding?