Everyone knows that America, as a country, doesn't have the torrid love affair with futból the rest of the world does. Yes, its growing in popularity and there are plenty of soccer moms,and many people like to play. But, there isn't the crazy fanatisism and passion that captivates the rest of the world (that is, unless things have changed in the past 7 months).
The reason I decided to talk about this is because we got a corporate announcment today that said all employees were entitled to either A) have a TV installed at work with the games playing or B) stay home and watch the game, of course with thier bosses approval. I'm not sure how many bosses would approve it, but the fact that they sent out a corporate announcement stating the possibility is beyond me.
Keith and I are going to our first Mundial watching party on Sunday, when Mexico faces off agains Iran. Our friend Fernando and family invited us. They are going to miss church this week so they can watch it. I think there will be a lot of empty pews at the 11:00 AM masses this weekend. I think when Pat O'Brien and Heidi are here next weekend there will be a Mexico game, so hopefully we can go to a bar so they can experience the insanity too.
Even knowing Mexico's passion for soccer, I really am astonished at the amount of hulabaloo and marketing that is surrounding the World Cup, or El Mundial as its known here. Geez, the marketing. They have been advertising since we signed up for our satelitte "Sign up with us and you'll get coverage of ALL the Mundial games - included!!". That was 7 months ago. Its like marketing for the Super Bowl, on steroids.
Gradually it has become more and more pronounced.....Coke has billboards touting that if you buy these cans, you are supporting La Selección (the Mexican Selection, or the Mexico Team) - and all of Mexico. Commercials galore - its nuts! My favorite is the commercials that say "When La Selección plays, all of Mexico plays with them". Soccer shaped Bimbo Cakes, baby bottles and cups. Pizza Hut has a special Mundial Soccer ball, bag and water bottle signed by the Pepsi endorsed players. At the fair we got Bud Light cups, which is the official beer of the World Cup. Wal Mart has practically changed thier colors from blue and grey to red white and green - there is so much parafanalia decorating the inside and not to mention, for sale. Every single thing that is for sale, has some kind of Mundial reference, more often than not a reference to the Mexican Selección. It took me two years to find my bread this week because they changed the damn packaging, in order to support Mexcio.
A couple of weeks ago, when i went to my first Mexico ACI meeting, a few of the chemical and cement companies were giving out Mundial Horarios - or schedules - conveniently sized for your pocket with times and dates of each game, also emblazoned with the company logo. One company that made Machines to test compressive strength of concrete cylinders had a picture of one of thier machines, with a soccer ball positioned where the cylinder should be. The raffle for the evening featured a plethora of prizes, but the grand prize was an official World Cup ball, straight from Germany. People were going nuts over it! i was pretty excited to win a $40 bottle of wine for my $1 ticket.....I could have cared less about the soccer ball. I probably could have sold it on eBay for a profit though.
I have to admit I'm a product of marketing and I have given into the hype. i bought T-Shirts, Polo shirts and cups. I even gave in and bought Mexico Jersey bottle/can coozies at OXXO (7-11 for Mexico). Its hard not to, you know? The buzz generated could get annoying, but at the same time its kind of exciting. Its nice to be able to experience this from a different perspective.....I definitely wouldn't have the heigtend level of interest if I was still in the states. But I draw the line at red, white and green potato chips. Thats just gross.
Here's a little treat for you. This video combines Mexico's two favorite things - futbol and scantily clad women.