Suarez: What Makes Violence Fair Game For Marketers?


So, some footballer bit another one. I didn't see it. Football is boring. As punishment, he got a four month ban (which equals 9 matches) and a piddly fine. To me, this is a pretty crappy series of events, but apparently it was really amusing to a lot of people. So much so that some companies decided to try and use it to push their completely irrelevant products to us.


Hey @luis16suarez. Next time you're hungry just grab a Snickers. #worldcup #luissuarez #EatASNICKERS

— SNICKERS® (@SNICKERS) June 24, 2014


Four months? That’s got to sting, @luis16suarez. Take the bite out of the ban with our #Specialbuys #Suarez — Aldi Stores UK (@AldiUK) June 26, 2014



Fair play to Specsavers advertising people .... #Suarez

— Brilliant Ads (@Brilliant_Ads) June 26, 2014

Rosetta Stone:

Italian -something to get your teeth into! #Italian is a tasty language, here is a better way to try it;) #LuisSuarez — Rosetta Stone UK (@RosettaStoneUK) June 25, 2014


@MarketingUK Making jokes about a serious issue is the British way, saw this ad today & thought it quite humorous

— dad~DA! (@WhatRicSaid) June 26, 2014


I don't really understand this. If he had punched the other guy in the face, would we get the same bandwagon-jumping reaction from from brands? I seriously doubt it. Broken his leg? Hell no. What about if he bit him in a bar one night, rather than on a football pitch? Or if he had bitten a woman? Not a chance.

So why is a famous man biting another one in front of thousands of spectators live on television fair game for marketers to exploit in (not very) humorous ways? Why do they want to associate themselves with this type of behaviour? Because both parties are semi-famous? Because 'biting' is somehow more amusing than other forms of violence? I don't have a definitive answer, but it seems a few people on Twitter agree with me, like this guy saying he's "not a fan", calling it "sad", and this guy describing it as "poor taste".

Although many don't agree - like the guy above who Tweeted the Philips ad - stating that making jokes about serious issues is the "British Way". Hmm. I still think that if the situation had been slightly different (woman/pub/broken leg) we wouldn't be seeing these types of jokes. At least, not nearly such light-hearted ones.

But let's forget about marketing for a bit... Apparently it's the 3rd time this guy has bitten another football player during a match. Is it his default way of showing anger? That is so worrying to me. The fact is, if you are old enough to have a full set of teeth and have at some point bitten another human being in anger, you are probably somewhat mentally ill. And if you are prone to such severe violent outbursts, you probably shouldn't be allowed to play professional football, where emotions generally run high and physical contact is frequent.

If I got angry at work (heaven forbid) and bit someone (maybe the twat who keeps leaving the fridge open), I would get fired. Immediately. I would probably be escorted from the premises by a member of security or a police officer, never to return. I might be arrested for assault and end up with a criminal record. I would not be sent home for 9 days and made to pay a fine equating to a minuscule percentage of my yearly salary.

I find it bizarre that people (and brands) have such double standards about violence. Also, the line about when it is and isn't appropriate to make jokes about violence and other crimes seems to be becoming increasingly blurred, what with the immediacy of social media and everyone's desire to be constantly memorable, current and newsworthy.

I'll end with this Tweet from a breakfast cereal, which seems to be the only brand condemning his actions by including the #BanSuarez hashtag: 

Biting is only okay when you're made of cinnamon and sugar. #BanSuarez #WorldCup — CinnamonToastCrunch (@CTCSquares) June 24, 2014