Pelé Facit and Åtvidaberg


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Back in 1966, the Brazilian national soccer team came to the small town Åtvidaberg in Sweden. Why?

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Pelé Facit and Åtvidaberg

  1. 1. This football field is perhaps not the greatest one mankind has seen.
  2. 2. Would you believe me if I said that the greatest soccer team in the world used to practice here?
  3. 3. It’s true. In 1966, the Brazilian national soccer team came here prior to the world championships in England – to relax and to practice.
  4. 4. Why?
  5. 5. They had been invited by Facit and its CEO Gunnar Ericsson. Facit was a Swedish manufacturer of mechanical calculators, typewriters and office furniture.
  6. 6. Facit was headquartered in the small Swedish town Åtvidaberg out in the forests.
  7. 7. Åtvidaberg kept growing in the 60s due to the continuous demand for their mechanical calculators throughout the world.
  8. 8. The Brazilian team was invited to practice for free during one week in Åtvidaberg.
  9. 9. The legendary Pelé enters Åtvidaberg…
  10. 10. … and is greeted by Mr. Ericsson.
  11. 11. Needless to say, the media loved to write about this…
  12. 12. ”Brazilians create soccer fever in Sweden”
  13. 13. ”They’re here now!”
  14. 14. ”The Facit director together with Pelé and Garrincha”
  15. 15. The team had a nice bbq dinner...
  16. 16. And started to practice the next day…
  17. 17. One day they had to practice in the rain…
  18. 18. It must have been the ideal preparation for the world championships in England…
  19. 19. The stars signed autographs during the breaks…
  20. 20. A special greeting from Pelé to the readers of ’Nya Norrland’, a local newspaper up north.
  21. 21. Some lucky young boys collected plenty of autographs.
  22. 22. Quite a few things happened during this historical week.
  23. 23. Amarildo got a bad injury which stopped him from playing in England.
  24. 24. ”Amarildo cried like a child The Brazilian team is shocked”
  25. 25. Hopefully, Swedish summer and Swedish fans gave some consolation.
  26. 26. And bicycling with one of the girls doesn’t seem too bad either…
  27. 27. The Brazilians also played a show game against the local team of Åtvidaberg.
  28. 28. … And yes, the Brazilians won the game.
  29. 29. Dinners and fun in the evening.
  30. 30. ”The award for the champion”
  31. 31. Pelé seemed to appreciate the company of Lill Lindfors, a famous Swedish singer back in those days.
  32. 32. ”Lill Lindfors sang for Pelé”
  33. 33. ”Brazilian viking party – that’s some PR.”
  34. 34. Yes, that’s some good PR.
  35. 35. Think of it, each and every one of all those articles about Pelé, Lill, Amarildo and the others…
  36. 36. … Turned the attention to Facit and its products.
  37. 37. It was a fantastic global marketing campaign which captured the attention of the world press.
  38. 38. The mechanical calculators were technologically mature in those days, and therefore, this kind of marketing was exactly the right way to obtain a competitive advantage.
  39. 39. Gunnar Ericsson received flowers and a big thank you from the Brazilian stars. And of course, the press wrote about it.
  40. 40. Mr. Ericsson also received a medal from the Brazilian President for what he’d done for the sport.
  41. 41. And it was pretty good PR for the Brazilian team as well.
  42. 42. Other teams received a slightly different kind of attention.
  43. 43. ”Soviet sacks ’the greatest goalkeeper in the world’ – he smokes and eats too much.”
  44. 44. This kind of photos were seen throughout the Swedish business press and they all contributed to a stronger market position for Facit.
  45. 45. But it was also the beginning of the end…
  46. 46. As a goodbye to Åtvidaberg, one Brazilian PR manager said that ’heaven ends here and hell starts now’.
  47. 47. He was right.
  48. 48. It ended up as a complete failure. The Brazilian team did not make it to the quarter finals.
  49. 49. The same statement could also be applied to the future of Facit.
  50. 50. From 1966 and on, Facit’s mechanical calculators became increasingly obsolete with the rise of electronic calculators.
  51. 51. Only six years later, the town of Åtvidaberg and Facit would be turned upside down with the dramatic shift to electronics.
  52. 52. In those years, Mr. Ericsson went from having been an admired industrial leader into being accused of, well, a lot of things.
  53. 53. That week in Åtvidaberg in June 1966, two great men from different parts of the world, both at the top of their careers, met and enjoyed the Swedish summer.
  54. 54. I am sure Pelé remembers.
  55. 55. I know Mr. Ericsson does.
  56. 56. Photos taken at: Åtvidabergs Bruks och Facit Museum, Sweden Åssa Industri och Bil Museum, Sweden Thank You!
  57. 57. Most of those images come from the fantastic Facit archives in Åtidaberg. Many thanks to ’Brukskultur’ and to Åtvidabergs Kommun for taking care of this great source.
  58. 58. Christian Sandström is a PhD student at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. He writes and speaks about disruptive innovation and technological change. christian.sandstrom at