Watch the World Cup in Havaianas Flip-Flops

Brazilian Marketer's Team Collection Sells a Sandal for Each Soccer Country in the Tournament

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NEW YORK ( –- As marketers everywhere are gearing up their World Cup-related efforts, Brazil's Havaianas has come up with a simple approach –- these are the flip-flops you should be wearing to watch the soccer matches this summer in comfort and style.

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The maker of trendy Havaianas is launching the Teams collection, with a pair of flip-flops for each of the 32 countries competing in the World Cup. Each pair looks like a brightly-colored team jersey in flip-flop form.

In Brazil the spot "Closet" broke this week, in which a well-known pair of actors, who are married in real life, try to decide which national team's flip-flops the husband, Daniel de Oliveira, should wear that day. Standing in a walk-in closet with dozens of pairs of Havaianas to choose from, Mr. de Oliveira ponders the merits of different countries -- Italy? Germany? Uruguay?-- based on how well they've done in previous World Cups. Wearing the Brazilian team's flip-flops would be too easy, almost cowardly, he reasons. Finally his impatient and hugely pregnant wife, Vanessa Giacomo, appears and grabs Serbia because that team's flip-flops are red and match the color of her husband's shirt.

The spot is by Almap BBDO, Sao Paulo, Havaianas' ad agency since 1993, and is in keeping with a strategy of using Havaianas-wearing celebrities in commercials in Brazil.

Even in less soccer-mad markets than Brazil, the Teams collection is part of Havaianas' strategy. In the U.S., where the company opened its own office almost three years ago as part of an international expansion that has seen sales outside Brazil grow from 1% a decade ago to about 14% of total sales last year, Havaianas will send about 400 mailers with Teams flip-flops to opinion formers. Cleverly playing on the idea that Brazil is often a soccer fan's second favorite team, after his own country, each mailer will contain a Brazil pair and a carefully-researched second pair. Mexican-American actress Eva Longoria Parker, for instance, will get Teams collection flip-flops from Mexico and Brazil, said Jim Anstey, marketing director of Alpargatas USA/Havaianas. Sao Paulo-based Alpargatas is the parent company, with about half of its sales coming from the Havaianas brand.

In the U.S., where the matches played in South Africa will air around lunchtime due to a six-hour time difference, Havaianas is also working with bars that will show World Cup games live starting June 11 to introduce a Havaianas theme. In New York, Brazilian bar Felix will put jerseys from the different World Cup national teams on the wall, next to the corresponding pair of Havaianas, Mr. Anstey said. And an Italian bar is painting a World Cup-themed mural on the wall that will include the Italian team's flip-flops.

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