Trippant Takeaways.

November 11th

Here’s another helping of Trippant Takeaways – our pick of stories that put the spotlight on trends, best practice and provocative ideas in communications across sport, entertainment, technology and culture.  

ESPN, CNN and the FT on the FIFA World Cup

First slowly and then all at once, the FIFA World Cup is approaching

With most major leagues around the world still playing as late as this weekend, the biggest football tournament of them all has a truncated build-up this time. But it has also been 12 years in the making and, as a new Netflix documentary reminds us, has been controversial from the outset.  

With allegations of bribery in the 2010 vote to award the event to Qatar resurfacing – and even disgraced former Fifa president Sepp Blatter suggesting it was a mistake on logistical grounds – charges of moral bankruptcy are not going away. Disturbing comments about homosexuality from tournament ambassador Khalid Salman have only deepened misgivings about local laws.  

SkySports and The Bureau on attempts to control the FIFA narrative

The sporting action may take over the conversation soon enough – as it did in Russia four and a half years ago – but attempts to control the narrative at this point are foundering. Fifa has pleaded with players to steer clear of sensitive topics. Recent reports have alleged that some actors have gone even further to quell dissent, with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Sunday Times uncovering evidence of a criminal hacking gang targeting journalists and public figures on behalf of Qatari authorities.     

Goal-Click and the Rolling Stone on the experience of local Qataris

The top-level angst around this World Cup has also led to a lack of local stories about local people – a vacuum that the Goal Click project, with the support of the Qatar Foundation, has sought to fill with some candid testimonials. Yet those perspectives will also share space with those of the migrant workers who built World Cup venues and infrastructure. They now have a better chance to relate their experiences than ever before.   

Marketing Week and CityAM on Brewdog‘s ‘anti-sponsor’ marketing

As noted in the Takeaways in previous weeks, the contentious issues trailing the World Cup have made it tricky for brands to judge how to sell around it. 

British beer company Brewdog has responded by creating a new space of its own – one maybe best described as ambush purpose marketing. It has positioned itself as an ‘anti-sponsor’ of the tournament, with a charitable pledge linked to sales of its Lost Lager drinks. That does not, however, amount to a boycott, with its bars still showing matches and its beers still on sale in the host nation itself. 

Those limits on its actions, combined with its own spotty history of working practices, have led many to dismiss its campaign as a ‘disingenuous’ stunt. It all raises questions about the real incentives behind projects like this and, as Alex Wilson asks in The Drum, whether Brewdog will reap the benefits anyway.    

TechCrunch and The Verge on Musk’s tornado takeover

Making money from digital content, as Elon Musk is discovering to his cost, is not rocket science. 

The mayhem currently unfolding at Twitter may be monopolising the agenda – not least among those on Twitter – but the reality is that the problems in tech run much deeper than one company’s woes.

The New York Times, Variety and the Guardian on the tech crisis

Meta has announced mass layoffs, the true cost of a shift to streaming has emerged, and the crypto winter is going nuclear.  The crisis in tech is far outpacing wider economic difficulties and it points to a generational shift in the model. As NYU business professor and Pivot podcast co-host Scott Galloway clinically outlines here, that wave of change is being ridden by two major players: Apple and TikTok.  

Front Office Sports on Apple’s new advertising network

As if to confirm Galloway’s thesis, Apple is reportedly piecing together its own new advertising network – with its live, global coverage of Major League Soccer as the initial keystone.  

Vulture and WSJ on Netflix’s new strategy

Another wobbling giant of the 2010s Silicon Valley surge, Netflix, had not had much to do with advertising until very recently.  

It hasn’t had much to do with live sports content, either, but that looks odds-on to change in the not-too-distant future.    

Sportico on NBA’s new private equity division

The NBA has consistently been an early and smart mover in sports technology and marketing. Now, it is ready to make a bigger impact through its investments by launching its own private equity division.  

Campaign Live and the BBC on Christmas messaging

The start of November marks a new season for advertisers in many markets, with the TV and digital commercial landscape hit with a blizzard of Christmas messaging and promotions for gifts like fragrances.   

The annual UK spot by John Lewis, this year also raising awareness about children in care, has become a pre-festive ritual in itself but with the cost-of-living crisis set to bite this winter, brands are hoping to strike a different tone.  

The New Yorker on the greatest (?) CEO of the modern age

In business, some leaders have a reputation and a gravitas that makes or even exceeds the brands they control. But is that always justified?  

What is it that turns some CEOs into icons? The New Yorker revisits the cult of that emblem of 20th century industry, GE’s Jack Welch.   

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