Public Relations Through Film: FIFA takes the plunge

What do you do when you’re a major world sports governing body facing criticism from all corners of the world over pesky details like bribery, corruption, and slave labor? Converged communicators in PUR3000 (Public Relations) know that there are a number of ways to handle crisis PR. But FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, has found a new one: Make a movie about the wonders of… get ready… FIFA. A newly-released film, with the bizarre name of United Passions, chronicles the heroic history of FIFA from its growth in 1904 to the present day. Somehow, FIFA persuaded some actual prominent actors – Gerard Depardieu, Tim Roth, and Sam Neill among them – to play the roles of FIFA presidents.


A link to the trailer is available here, if you dare:


According to the this report from the BBC, FIFA spent some £16 million ($27.2 million) on the production of the film. Now that’s an expensive PR campaign. For now, the film is being released only in Serbia, although showings in other locations are expected in the future. But this has the potential to backfire spectacularly. With numerous unresolved issues still swirling around the organization, the last thing that seems likely to win worldwide respect for FIFA is an expensive, self-glorifying blend of public relations, documentary, bad fake accents, and film. Maybe some communications are best left non-converged after all.


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