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Since the departure of the brave All Whites from New Zealand (my apologies to all Italian readers for our role in the demise of the Azzurri), my allegiances have switched constantly in this most compelling of Football World Cups.
The event, so wonderfully organised by South Africa, has gripped the attention of millions worldwide, and the airport and travel retail communities have been no exception. A personal favourite is Cyprus Airports Duty Free Shops’s World Cup Adventure (below) but there have been many others that have simultaneously injected local and international flavour into the airport experience – and a lot of fun and customer interactivity.
There has been much merry banter around the industry’s astoundingly fast e-mail network – much of it at England’s, France’s and Italy’s joint expense it must be said – and many examples of international humour at his best.
On a personal level I didn’t know whether to laugh, whoop or jump for joy when ARI Group Retail Operations Director Nick Forbes sent me a text detailing The All Whites’ dramatic 92nd minute equaliser against Slovakia while I was undergoing one of the many procedures that form part of my current medical treatment. As that procedure was an enema, let’s just say my celebrations were muted…
I loved our report yesterday on how Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has entered into the spirit of the occasion by placing its own specially designed ‘World Cup stadium’ (pictured top) in front of the airport entrance, seating 325 people. Passengers, commuters, Schiphol workers, and meeters and greeters can watch the matches live on the Astrovision screen.
With the mighty men from The Netherlands surging through to the final, expect an over-capacity crowd there on Sunday.
It’s also good to see how a number of suppliers are taking advantage of the World Cup to promote their products.
At Schiphol, for instance, a professional team of street soccer artists is present at the Dutch gateway to promote a new gift set from L’Oréal Men Expert. And to promote South African cream liqueur Amarula, the brand owner has created a booth, decked out in the Amarula way of living, with a football table and seats. On busy days (and I guess most are these days at Schiphol), a hostess hands out samples. Never was meeting and greeting at Schiphol more fun.
I suspect there are similarly grand-scale efforts taking place in various German and Spanish airports today and boy will the two finalists be well supported in their respective international gateways in the lead-up to Sunday. Like football, travel retail is a great international community and it’s lovely to see the two crossing over.