Fifa vice-president Jack Warner branded the BBC “unpatriotic” for deciding to screen an investigation into the football governing body so close to the vote on 3 December which would decide the host of the 2018 World Cup.

Regardless of what the sports and football world might think of Mr Warner, we have to question the thinking and rational for not just the BBC’s Panorama programme, which was screened last night, but the Sunday Times expose a few weeks back.  These two media outlets claimed that their investigations were in the ‘public interest’, but the timing of their broadcast couldn’t have been anything other than fatal.  Unpatriotic, as Mr Warner said might not be that wide of the mark.

Since news broke of what these two outlets were doing the Football Association has been scrambling to still be in with a chance to host the 2018 World Cup.  It’s pushed forward its power players to rally the nation into showing strength in unity.  England’s World Cup 2018 bid international president David Dein called for the nation and by default the media, to get behind the bid.  Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince William will both be in Zurich on Thursday supporting the bid.  But this might just be the public face for a bid that is actually intended to change Fifa rather than secure the World Cup.

I am not for one minute arguing for investigative journalism to be gagged.  Nor am I condoning the culture of favour that exists within Fifa, an organisation that promotes Fair Play on the pitch, but ignores it in the boardroom.  Let’s be honest, are these investigations really in the public interest, this being common well-being?  Such a claim is more of a catch-all.

There are three sides to every story – two sides and the truth.

The big question is about the communications expertise that exists within England’s bid.  Did England’s bid team have the necessary power to work with the media?  Was it able to influence the timing of such and much needed investigation?  Could the media’s work help in England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup?  Or did England just know that it didn’t stand a chance, which is why it embarked on a campaign to reform Fifa.

We will be anticipating with anguish the results of Fifa’s Executive Committee’s vote on Thursday.  The bid’s Facebook page has support from people from over 170 countries!

The season of merriment and high-jinx is upon us.  Lo and behold this Christmas time for the usual mistletoe and wine.  And drinks companies at this time of year will be unleashing their campaigns to remind us that drinking and driving don’t mix.

Consumers and certain lobbies take a dim and cynical view of these campaigns, believing that they only purpose they serve is to further promote the alcoholic beverages that they sell.  All the world’s evils are laid at their door, giving them no chance to counter these claims.

Let’s be honest, drinks companies know that they have to educate their consumers and encourage them to be responsible.  After all, irresponsible consumers do these companies a disservice.  For drinks companies, awareness and educational campaigns are needed to educate consumers about how to enjoy their products.  But some companies campaigns appear to just give lip service to this.  They roll out these campaigns without knowing how their audience reacts to these campaigns.  They push educational messages that look more like a corporate internal advert than a campaign that will motivate people to be responsible.

Bacardi Limited is a company that this Christmas is rolling an education campaign that I believe will be well received by people.  Why?  Well, they have enlisted no other that seven-time FIA Formula 1™ World Champion Michael Schumacher, a driver that is the epitome of success.  A driver that knows that drinking and driving don’t mix.  But he isn’t just the face of a campaign that people are distant from.  Entitled Champions Drink Responsibly Bacardi Limited decided to roll out a competition whereby people can win the chance to have Michael as their designated driver.  In fact here in Britain being a designated driver is not something that people want to volunteer to become, which is why with Schumacher Bacardi is working to change this perception.  I mean, imagine being driven around a luxurious test track by one of the greatest Formula 1™ drivers ever.

Bacardi Limited commissioned three viral ads (see one here) and entered into a media partnership with MSN Cars, thus ensuring that their campaign would reach the audience that they are targeting.  Using Burson-Marsteller they also ensured that this digital campaign links with other above and below the line activities.  A true through-the-line initiative that makes us all question if it’s worth the risk of drinking an driving.

People might still be cynical, but it is in everybody’s best interest that drink companies heartily promote the fact that drinking and driving don’t mix.  To enter and win a chance visit http://www.championsdrinkresponsibly.com.  And yes, it was a great campaign to work on!

The video here was filmed when Michael visited Britain in September to film the viral ads, which can be seen here:

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