In January 2015, when allegations of corruption and malfeasance at FIFA were at their pinnacle, SKINS couldn’t just stand on the sidelines voicing politically-correct disapproval. We felt we had to directly tackle the problem.
We wanted to draw maximum attention to the area that really matters to FIFA—their sponsorship income. Thus was born a two-pronged strategy: mobilise sponsors and compel them to influence FIFA change, and present legitimate recommendations for reform.
In order to achieve the latter, SKINS’ co-established NewFIFANow, a reform group chaired by Conservative MP Damian Collins. The group was also supported by high profile individuals such as Lord David Triesmann (Chairman of the England 2022 bid) and FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne and spelt out the changes needed to bring about meaning reform.
SKINS then announced themselves as the Official Non-Sponsor of FIFA; A world first. If sponsorship is about directly supporting the values of an organisation, then this ironic ‘non-sponsorship’ presented an attention-grabbing means to challenge and renounce FIFA’s practices, thereby highlighting SKINS’ values and beliefs.
The campaign galvanised staff, politicians, celebrities, and public. By standing up for the sports industry in the face of FIFA corruption, SKINS generated $50m+ of global TV and press coverage in the process.
Most importantly SKINS’ ONS campaign fundamentally changed the narrative to make ‘sponsor complicity’ and ‘independent reform’ part of the FIFA story. First the media, then politicians and now Tier 1 sponsors Coke, VISA and McDonalds publically and privately agitate for “independently-led” reform.