McDonald's backs big Philippine football promotion

"Soccer is perfect for Pinoys. After all, there are no height requirements in soccer," Rod Nepomuceno, managing director of Crush Communications, which is spearheading a football project with McDonald's and SM Supermalls in the Phillippines told the Sun Star. McDonald's, the biggest quick service restaurant in the world and SM Supermalls, the biggest mall chain in the Philippines, joined forces last year to bring football closer to the people through a unique campaign called Soccer Mania. The seven-month interactive event series culminates in an Indoor Soccer Tournament in the Mall of Asia in May 2007.

"McDonald's is going all-out to support the game of soccer in the Philippines," declared McDonald's VP for Marketing, Margot Torres. "We really think that soccer's time has arrived and McDonald's will make sure that the sport is continuously promoted. This is consistent with McDonald's thrust worldwide as we are a major sponsor for both the Olympics and the World Cup. McDonald's believes in the promotion of a balanced, healthy active lifestyle, especially among kids," she said.

"Soccer can be learned and appreciated inside the mall. We believe that this is the best way to start a relationship with the game. Once people get to appreciate the different elements of the sport, eventually, they'll begin to like it - and hopefully, people will start getting into it, initially as an active lifestyle exercise and then, eventually, as a sport they can excel in," Nepomuceno explained, adding that Soccer Mania is not a league. "What we want is for people, especially young kids, to try out soccer-related exercises, games and challenges. We want them to witness how the game is played through game demos and clinics. And we will conduct this in a place where they usually hang-out - SM malls. We will have interactive games like Beat the Goalie, the Juggle Challenge, the Dribble Race, Kick-a-Prize and Soccer Clinics. And people will have a chance to win a lot of cool prizes along the way," he said.

Other sponsors include Philippine Star, Solar Sports, Magic 89.9, NU 107, Gerflor Taraflex, Chalk, Pink, MetroActive, Metro Him Magazine, Digiprint, the Makati Football School, Union FC,, Hotel del Rio and the NCRFA.