撇开争议不谈，这届世界杯肯定不是已经注定了要失败的命运，以编撰国家品牌指数(Country Brand Index)著称的未来品牌战略咨询公司(FutureBrand)执行董事古斯塔沃•康尼斯奇泽尔这样说道。“是的，巴西政府应该更好地解释举办世界杯的好处。没错，在目前这种情况下，这并不是一件容易做到的事情。但至少人们正在讨论这件事，就纠正错误观念、改变叙事方式而言，这是一个很好的起点。要是没有人关注，解决问题的难度就会大得多。”
A group of 400 private companies have committed to boycott such “dirty companies” as part of a pact against the use of slave labor, says Andrees. “It’s a very effective system that shows the seriousness of the Brazilian government…. It could serve as a model for neighboring countries, such as Peru and Paraguay.”
The government’s best intentions have not been enough to sway the Brazilian people, though. The run up to the World Cup has been bogged down by massive street protests against corruption, the poor quality of public services, and the unequal distribution of profits. In an interview with German magazine Sport Bild, Brazilian football legend Pele has called the preparations “a disgrace,” blaming “the evil people who have stolen all the money.”
The public backlash has rained on Brazil’s $14 billion parade even before it has started, says Cornell’s Casanova. “If Brazil has one common religion, it is soccer. Yet the latest surveys show that more than half of the population is against the World Cup. The consensus is broken.”
The street protests are especially challenging for Brazil’s ambitions to present itself as an alternative model for economic growth, says Casanova. “Brazil has a system of state capitalism, something in between China and the United States, where the central government has intervened in a number of ways to make society more equal. It has worked for years, but now even the elites are complaining about corruption and inequality.
Controversy aside, the event is certainly not doomed to fail, says Gustavo Koniszczer, managing director at branding firm FutureBrand, which compiles a Country Brand Index. “Yes, the Brazilian government should do a better job explaining the benefits, and yes, under these circumstances that is not going to be easy. But at least people are talking, which is a good starting point for correcting misconceptions and changing the narrative. It’s much harder to address the problem if nobody pays attention.”
From an international point of view, Brazil is already enjoying some of the positive effects of organizing the World Cup, says Koniszczer. In the 2013 Latin American version of the Country Brand Index, Brazil ranks first, after Argentina and Costa Rica. The impact will only increase as the country prepares for the Olympics. “It pretty much guarantees that Brazil will be on everybody’s mind until the end of 2016.”
Such massive publicity will particularly benefit tourism, says Casanova, who is originally from Barcelona, host of the 1992 Olympics. “That event changed the image of my country completely. Before the games, Spain still had trouble profiling itself as a vacation spot. Now, it is one of the top destinations in the world.”