South African airline Kulula has been forced to pull an advert after receiving a lawyer's letter from FIFA stating that the company had used various FIFA-trademarked elements related to the World Cup, including the South African flag, soccer balls — and even the vuvuzela.

The Kulula advert read, "Unofficial carrier of the you-know-what" and featured soccer-related drawings, including a soccer player, stadium, soccer balls and the South African flag.

A message on Kulula's Twitter account read: "Oh dear letter from FIFA's lawyers says we broke their trademark of the use of ‘South Africa’ and think our non-WC ad was about soccer..."

Nadine Damen, marketing manager for Kulula, said that the airline had decided to redo the ad and take out the "nasties" after receiving the letter from the football body last week.

She said that FIFA had taken offence to a number of elements in the ad, including the use of "repeated use of soccer balls, the Cape Town stadium, the South African flag and the vuvuzela".

"We were surprised to receive their letter, but we have retracted the ad and will be changing the campaign before it flights again next week... The ad was done in a style true to our brand and as always we tried to be quirky and fun.

We chose the images and words carefully so as to acknowledge the World Cup period, but not to infringe on their trademarks, but it seems we crossed their very strict line."

The original advert had been used in the Sunday press, and the new, altered advert will be placed in a number of different mediums.

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