Picture a special charter plane, presidential motorcade, layers of security, special traffic corridor, incognito rooms, armed commandos, protocol ...and then place a prestigious and most loved and wanted icon of the world in center of it!
If you are mistaking the arrangements for that of a head of state, don’t fret. The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola is not unlike any head of state visit. If fact, it almost was one. Squeezed between Singaporean Prime Minister and Indonesian President’s visit to Sri Lanka, the Trophy Tour was a full on spectacular effort...mounted on Hollywood scale. In fact, the Trophy did eventually gain audience with H.E. the President of Sri Lanka and the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.
The Sports Minister of Sri Lanka upon learning from the Football Federation of Sri Lanka that the country will be the first international stop on this prestigious tour, formed a special task force to welcome the gleaming trophy. Ministry of Tourism was invited to join the group and they joined in with a big heart.
From senior police officials to airport authorities and from the tourism ministry to venue teams, it was a top notch effort committed to making this ‘visit’ a rousing success. The Football Federation of Sri Lanka, which put together the whole program and mountainous effort, took it upon itself to use the opportunity for turning over a new leaf for Sri Lankan football. Here was a chance to re-ignite the love of football in the country.
The invitee list for events cut across the entire spectrum of football lovers. Ambassadors and consuls based in Sri Lanka, CEOS, football teams, young enthusiasts and more found their way snaking up to the trophy to get a glimpse, and if really lucky, get a picture. The atmosphere across all events sparkled with joy, pride and enthusiasm. Chants of ‘football…football’ ignited the whole arena. The Sri Lankan football fans made this 18-hour stop unforgettable.
There are only two kinds of countries in the world- those in love with football and those who are waiting to fall in love with football. For Sri Lankans at large, the FIFA World Cup Trophy was the sight that may have moved them from waiting to fall in love….to being completely smitten by it.
In one of the late, late night dinners for the Coca-Cola team that worked behind the scenes of this Hollywood-style production, came a brain spark. For the team, if efforts behind FIFA World Cup Trophy tour were like working for a head of state; if the trophy travelled like a head of state and was adored like a head of state, then in true spirit (and inspired by blockbusters), it had to be given a codename- like a head of state!
President Obama’s Secret Service codename was Renegade, and President Trump’s codename is Mogul, so…the FIFA Trophy affectionately (and reverently) became Codename: Baby
Now again, picture this… charter plane, presidential motorcade, layers of security, special traffic corridor, incognito rooms, armed commandos with codename ‘Baby.’ You get the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola