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Beer companies battle over orange attire

A World Cup fan uses makeshift paper ear plugs to block the sound of vuvuzela Saturday during the Nigeria v Argentina match at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg. AFP

THE arrival of the Dutch always adds a bit of welcome colour to the World Cup – so long as you like orange, that is. Always a fantastic photo opportunity for the world’s media, the Dutch obsession with the vivid colour has not always proved a hit with the powers that be.

During the 2006 finals, Dutch fans were forced to strip down to their underpants by German police before their team’s clash with the Ivory Coast as their orange lederhosen carried the brand of Dutch beer company Bavaria. Although the Dutch fans’ attire offended all fashion rules known to man, it was not for this reason that the articles had to be removed. Rival beer company Budweiser had exclusive rights over the promotion of beer in all the stadiums. Despite the extreme unlikelihood that the sight of heavily beer-gutted Dutch fans wearing skimpy lederhosen would help promote anything outside of Amsterdam’s more extreme nightclubs, reason did not prevail, and the removal of overalls was enforced.

Surely such an event couldn’t be repeated in South Africa, with the American beer company once more holding exclusive rights for all World Cup stadiums?

Well, at least this time they weren’t wearing lederhosen.

In the Netherlands opening game with Denmark eagle-eyed viewers might have spotted 36 female Dutch fans at the front of the stadium wearing orange mini-skirts. Certainly the TV producer did, as footage of the starlets was broadcast around the globe. Sadly, it only lasted for the opening 45 minutes, as in the second half the Orange Spice Girls were engulfed by stewards and told to vacate the stadium. Apparently the skirts had been used in a marketing campaign by Bavaria in the Netherlands ahead of the World Cup, although they carried no branding for the beer company. To the disappointment of many viewers, Bavaria’s finest were not given the option of shedding their skirts.

Reports that a bunch of American fans were removed from the game against England for wearing Homer Simpson T-shirts with Duff Beer branding on them have been greatly exaggerated.

At least the Dutch fans managed to drown out the vuvus’ incessant hum. FIFA officials have confirmed that the finals’ most vocal hit will not be banned from the stadiums despite health concerns about fans’ eardrums. This might have something to do with the stimulus vuvu sales are having on the Rainbow Nation. Not just in the sales of vuvuzela herself but also in earplugs. These are now available in a range of colours so that fans can wear their team’s colours with pride, while maintaining the integrity of their inner ears. Perhaps someone ought to suggest that Bavaria send Budweiser a box of orange earplugs for Christmas – unbranded of course.



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