World Cup 2010: England as Vacuous Marketing Tool

So, inevitably, it begins. Fifteen days before the beginning of the tournament, and sixteen before the England team’s first match against the United States of America, the enormous array of England-branded nick-nacks and twaddle is already almost suffocating. Interestingly, and by no means coincidentally, most of this ‘stuff’ is used to enhance the state of indolence that a summer of football makes possible, such as a pillow in the shape of England’s former strip, a gazebo with an arbitrary St George’s Cross on it, (both courtesy of Netto) and a jumbo-lounger bearing England’s football badge (Tesco). Some is entirely baffling, such as the ‘Asda Choir’ interpretation of Baddiel, Skinner and the Lightning Seeds’ Three Lions.

Every international football tournament (placed every two years almost for the convenience of corporations) brings with it a breathtaking array of tat emblazoned with the Cross of St. George, and this year is no exception. What is interesting, however, is considering the true motives- and the implications of these motives- of those who purport to ‘support’ England.

First up: rank hypocrisy. Tesco, the reality-consuming monolith that used to be merely a supermarket, has thrown its considerable bulk and advertising power behind England’s World Cup ambitions. The fabled ‘three lions’ are emblazoned anywhere and everywhere as Tesco supposedly ‘proudly’ nails its colours to the mast as ‘Official Supermarket’.

However, as per usual, all is not as it seems.

Firstly, both Tesco’s World Cup websites, and are superficial at best, with the former bearing only click-through links to other arms of its website, and the latter a rather bland multi-national affair whose own ‘Team Support’ barometer presently predicts an Italian victory at the tournament. Lacklustre support, at best, at least online.

Secondly, and more significantly, a recent discovery by Toque has revealed an unpleasant reluctance to support England and her interests as even a key producer as a large proportion of the goods it sells. If Tesco cannot bring itself to recognise England as a nation-state, what value the company’s support at a football tournament? A discernable whiff of self-interest has become clear amidst this ungainly business.

Another particularly sinister example of this comes courtesy of Danish beer giant Carlsberg, who have lavished £750,000 on a ‘patriotic’ television advertisement. Carlsberg have a long association with English football, calling themselves the ‘Official Beer’ of ‘England’, though precisely how they’ve managed to secure the rights to the long and varied history and deep and rich culture of a sovereign nation, or how they plan to supply beer to that many people remains unexplained. This new advert, however, calls on various English sporting greats (living and dead) and assorted foreign icons as well, replete with subliminal messaging:

All very well, but for the fact that Carlsberg’s blithe path of appropriating the sporting traditions, and on a wider scale, what it constitutes to represent England and even to be English, distorts notions of patriotism and attempts to align these feelings of love for one’s country with a product. It was even in their brief:

“”The biggest and most difficult part of the brief was that we wanted the hairs to stand up on the back of people’s necks.”
Paul Davies, director of brands and insights at Carlsberg.

It is clearly proving all too easy for multinational corporations only interested in using our culture, our heritage and our nation as a cash cow for their own greed.  As English Nationalists, we must strive to assert our culture and its unique and vibrant qualities, and ensure it remains independent, distinct and separate from the corrosive and all-pervading influence of multinational capitalism.

So cheer on England this summer by all means: just don’t be fooled.


About Byrnsweord

I am an Englishman. Constantly striving for the truth and to conserve what is good about England. You can find my on flickr at my blog over at and my Twitter account at Byrnsweord is min nama.
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One Response to World Cup 2010: England as Vacuous Marketing Tool

  1. Pingback: World Cup 2010: What’s the cost of England winning? England Promotions Galore. « Monkey Logic

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