ART aims to score with World Cup ad campaign

Pan-Arab satellite network ART is set to launch a major advertising and marketing push to promote its exclusive rights to show this summer’s World Cup.

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By  Tim Addington Published  April 9, 2006

Pan-Arab satellite network ART is set to launch a major advertising and marketing push to promote its exclusive rights to show this summer’s World Cup. But the company has dismissed claims that it is charging customers too much to watch the finals in Germany which start on June 9. Karim Younes, general manager of ART’s International Sports Event Company division and head of the World Cup Project at ART, said the event is a mega brand that meant people had to pay for the privilege of watching. The ART campaign is set to break across the Middle East and North Africa this week and aims to bring people closer to their football heroes. Developed by Fortune Promoseven in Saudi Arabia and Dubai, the ads show one half of a famous footballer’s face — such as David Beckham, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho — with the other half showing that of a football fan. Younes said: “The World Cup is all about passion. It is not about subscriptions or smart cards, it’s about passion, you and a player. The World Cup is a mega brand, it is not a normal brand. It is the difference between a small car and a Porsche. We are bringing the brand closer to the heart of the consumer and not the mind.” During the 2002 World Cup ART added more than 100,000 additional subscribers. But concerns have been raised that people will have to pay hundreds of dollars to watch the action, either as a one-off fee or on top of their existing ART subscription packages. Younes, said: “It is an event that comes once ever four years, it has a price, it has an image. We need to communicate that and we need to respect the World Cup.” Outdoor, cinema and print will be used to get across ART’s message and a series of in-store marketing activities are also planned in the run-up to the finals. Younes said that ART would be hiring a PR agency to help promote the event. While no final decision has yet been made, he said that Promoseven Weber Shandwick was the most likely to secure the business. The World Cup will be shown on seven ART channels. As well as showing live matches, there will be two playercam channels, a highlights channel and a high definition channel. Special programmes, including a two-hour daily morning show, will also feature.

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