A promotion tactic designed to associate a company, product, or service with a particular event, or to attract the attention of people attending the event, without payment being made for an official sponsorship.
What is Ambush Marketing?
Not a guerilla,viral or stealth.
It is an aerial advertising.
Well planned effort.
Used commonly at worldwide sporting organisations.
Trading of the good will be without being an official sponsor.
Also called “parasitic” marketing.
Two Ways of Ambush Marketing
1. Direct Ambush Marketing: In 1994 football world cup, MasterCard received exclusive rights for using world cup logo, but a rival Sprints Communication used the logo without permission. This is direct attack but can be defended by laws.
2. Indirect Ambush Marketing: Several ways indirect ambush marketing can take place like sponsoring the broadcast of the event, sponsoring subcategories of the major event etc.
Sponsor the Broadcast of the Event
Sponsor Subcategories within the Event
Purchasing Advertising Time Around Relays of the Competitor’s Event
Engage in Major Non-sponsorship Promotions
Corporate Hospitality and Ticketing
Reasons to Use
Ambush marketing is used by companies to intrude upon public consciousness surrounding a sports property. Thus, ambush marketers avoid the cost of paying expensive sponsorship fees while gaining the benefits of associating with a sports property at the expense of the sponsor.
First Ambushing Example
In 1984, Fuji Film won the sponsorship rights for the Los Angeles Olympic Games. Kodak responsed to it by “ambushing” Fuji with a well planned campaign.
Fuji took revenge on Kodak, which won the sponsorship rights for the 1988 games.
You won’t need a “VISA”
Visa was the official sponsor of the Winter Olympics at Lillehammer (Norway) in 1994 and aired TV commercials were they claimed that American Express cards were not accepted at the Olympic Villa. However, American Express aired ads which stated that American travelers did not need any visa to travel to Norway.
“ The Spirit of Australia”
At the 2000 Sydney Olympics ; Qantas Airlines’ slogan "The Spirit of Australia" sounds strikingly similar to the games’ slogan "Share the Spirit." Qantas claims it’s just a coincidence.
At the 2006 Football World Cup, Dutch brewer, Bavaria, gave away garish orange lederhosen displaying its name to hundreds of Dutch supporters attending the match against the Ivory Coast. Budweiser was the official beer. Stewards at the match ordered the fans to remove the garments before letting them in.
Pringles Ambushing at Wimbledon
At outside of Wimbledon All England Club, almost 24.000 cans of Pringles were distrubeted to spectators.
The packaging, which was similar to can of tennis ball, allowed to make product noticable.
To reinforce the campaign, similar models to well known tennis players Roger Federer and Bjorn Borg are used.
Protecting from Ambushing
The sponsor should focus on effectively exploiting and leveraging its purchased association with the sports property.
Sponsoring both the event and the broadcast of the event.
There should be detailed sponsorships contracts
There are special laws introduced for major events and Olympic Games to protect main sponsors.
Official sponsors can sometimes bring pressure to bear on the event owners to introduce anti-ambush marketing campaigns.
The Ethical Issue
Is it ethical for a company to ambush an event?
Why do brands with excellent reputations get into this?
Are they justified?
The questions arises as to whether or not practices such as ambush marketing is ethical, illegal or simply smart business practice. In order to decide this, an examination has to be undertaken of what are regarded as ethical marketing practices, in addition to examining what comprises ambush marketing, followed by a comparison of the two.
The Ethical Issue
Typically, sports property owners and sponsors view the practice as being unethical,immoral and sometimes illegal. On the other hand, many companies unable to afford sponsorship fees will regard the practices involved as a legitimate form of defensive, competitive behaviour and perhaps even deny that what they are doing is ambush marketing.
The law as it now stands seems unable to accommodate the concerns of official corporate sponsors. There is no limit to human ingenuity. As such, ambush marketing at the margins will arguably always occur (Curthoys & Kendall 2002).
As sport has become a central element of an emerging global culture, marketers have recognised sports sponsorship as an international communication tool of commerce with the capability of providing a vehicle for firms to procure a sustainable competitive advantage.