Kulula, a South African budget airline known for funny and colorful ads, was told by FIFA that it infringed its 2010 World Cup trademark by calling itself "Unofficial National Carrier of the
You-Know-What." It also had on its web site pictures of stadiums, vuvuzelas and national flags. According to a kulula.com's spokeswoman, FIFA said the airline could not use the symbols - even the word
"South Africa." FIFA said the images taken together were "ambush marketing."
"For the record, Fifa did not tell Kulula that they could not use soccer balls, or the word 'South Africa', or the Cape Town stadium, or the national flag or vuvuzelas," said a statement from FIFA. It was the combination of these elements that were banned, the statement said.
Heidi Brauer, a marketing manager of Comair Limited, a holding company for kulula.com and British Airways in South Africa, told the BBC: "We're surprised by this FIFA complaint but have to be respectful because FIFA has very stringent rules." But she said that many people across the country had criticized FIFA's move, saying it did not own South Africa's soccer stadiums, soccer balls or vuvuzelas (a South African plastic trumpet used by fans).