Ambush Marketing: Innovative or Immoral?


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An overview of the practice of Ambush Marketing - a practice of growing popularity and controversy. Is it innovative, clever, cool or just plain wrong? The recently concluded London 2012 Olympics provided many examples of the phenomenon, even with the enhanced laws and regulations governing Olympic advertising. Can it ever be stopped? Perhaps not. This presentation provides looks at both sides of the Ambush Marketing debate.

Published in: Sports, Business, News & Politics
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Ambush Marketing: Innovative or Immoral?

  1. 1. Ambush MarketingInnovative or Immoral?
  2. 2. Michael Phelps of the U.S. arrives for the mens 200m butterflysemi-finals at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 30, 2012.
  3. 3. Tom Daley UK Olympic Swimmer
  4. 4. Canadas track cyclist Joseph Veloce uses a pair ofBeats by Dr. Dre headphones at the Velodromeduring the London 2012 Olympic Games August 4,2012.
  5. 5. What’s wrong with these pictures? The IOC claimed that Dr. Dre “ambushed” the Olympics by giving away free headphones to famous Athletes
  6. 6. International Events“...large-scale events which attract international audiences and media attention and meet a variety of economic objectives for the destinations in which they are hosted.”
  7. 7. An International Approach to Events ManagementInternational • Tourism Activities • International sponsorship • Differences in laws, technology & politics (PEST)Intercultural • Differences in cultural values (Hofstede,1991), Issues customs (Morrison and Conaway, 2006) communication styles (Hall and Hall, 1990) • SustainabilityInternational • Inclusivity and disability policies Practices • Enhanced security
  8. 8. Learning ObjectivesAt the end of this session you should be able to:• Distinguish between sponsorship, ambush marketing, incidental ambush and other communication tools• Understand the benefits of ambush marketing• List various ambush marketing strategies• Develop strategies to prevent ambush marketing opportunities and enhance event- sponsor partnership
  9. 9. What is Ambush Marketing?“... a planned effort by an organisation to associate themselves indirectly with an event in order to gain at least some of the recognition and benefits that are associated with being a sponsor.” (Sandler and Shani, 1989: p11)
  10. 10. Definitions of Ambush MarketingMeenaghan The practice whereby another company, often a(1994) competitor, intrudes upon public attention surrounding the event, thereby deflecting attention toward themselves and away from the sponsor.CNOSF (French A set of behaviours by which an economic agent lurks inOlympic the wake of another in order to take advantage, free ofCommittee, charge, of his efforts and skills.2006)Walliser A technique where an advertiser who does not hold(2006) official sponsorship rights, notably for an event, tries to make the public believe the contrary.Farrelly, Quester Striving to catch an illicit ride on an event’s wave byand Greyser deceiving or confusing consumers into believing a(2005) company is an official sponsor.
  11. 11. Goals of Ambush Marketing• To hijack the intrinsic values of an event and take advantage, for the least possible cost• To improve the ambusher’s brand reputation and transfer the positive aspects of the event to its brand• To mislead the public into thinking the ambush marketer is something it’s not• To weaken the link between the official sponsors and the event by creating confusion about sponsors’ identities
  12. 12. The Ambush Marketer’s Toolkit• Event broadcasters• People related to event (e.g. athletes, coach, team, retired athletes, dead athletes, and commentators)• Symbols of the activity (e.g. fields, balls, uniforms and tickets)• Symbols of the place (e.g. arenas, cities, countries and monuments)• Unprotected symbols of the event (e.g. colours, generic names, generic sentences, generic goods and congratulatory messages)
  13. 13. Event Broadcasters & Ambush Marketers• Many different brands (ambushers) will claim to ‘proudly bring’ to audiences in different countries the same event, sponsored by yet another brand, that of the official sponsor!
  14. 14. Sponsors of Athletes & Other Personalities • They will often try to gain some of the reflected glory of a major event by running an advertising campaign featuring their sponsored personalities when those individuals are participating in that event
  15. 15. Sponsors of Athletes & Other Personalities
  16. 16. Ambushing Symbols• Associating the ambushing company/its brands/its products with the venue where the event takes place• Using or “ambushing” symbols or themes, or even musical tunes in its advertising, typically used by an the event
  17. 17. Other Common Ambushing Tactics• Saturating the physical environment of the event, or any available advertising space around it• Seeking a sponsorship association with a related property, in order to secure access to an event for which it is not entitled to claim sponsor status• Creating a competing and simultaneous event to coincide and divert from the sponsored event
  18. 18. Ambushers Vs Official Sponsors• Although their tactics appear very similar ambush marketers cannot be confused with sponsors because they: – Do not have an official agreement with the event – Have no right to use protected imagery of the event – Cannot do public relations at event venues IF AMBUSH MARKETERS ARE FOUND DOING ANY OF THE ABOVE THE WILL BE GUILTY OF COPYRIGHT INFRIGEMENT
  19. 19. Accidental Ambush Marketers• It is also possible for the confusion that ambush marketers seek to create to occur unintentionally causing an incidental ambush marketing effect PUMA 2010 Advertisement
  20. 20. Accidental orIntentional?What is this Ad showing?
  21. 21. Accidental orIntentional?
  22. 22. Ambushing Right or Wrong?THOSE IN FAVOUR THOSE OPPOSED
  24. 24. However ...The fact is mega-events such as the Olympic Games cannot exist without multi-national firms and their levels of investment in them.
  25. 25. How Can Event Marketers Stop Ambushers?• Legal measures – registering copyright and trademarks• Enacting an event act such as the ‘Olympic Marks Act’ to provide protection for symbols and phrases which though traditionally cannot be copyrighted or trademarked will be protected for a limited time• Designating event venues as clean zones• On-site monitoring and patrols• Name and shaming ambush marketers
  26. 26. For ExampleThe Vancouver Olympics protected ...• ‘Faster, higher, stronger’• Canadian Olympic Committee• International Olympic Committee• Olympic• Olympic Games• 2010 Canada•
  27. 27. For Example• Forbidding of spectators wearing clothing with large logos• Covering up or destroying unauthorised signage, message or logos• Restricting the size of logos on players’ uniforms
  28. 28. For Example • Running public relations campaigns about ambush marketers • Issuing public announcements against companies who ambush • Printing of detailed news paper articles describing the actions of ambushers
  29. 29. Alternative Approaches• Long-term sponsorship of events• Using multiple marketing tools alongside sponsorship such as: – Purchasing saturation broadcast coverage and investing heavily in advertising to activate sponsorship – Using an event’s identifying elements in packaging and organising related promotion campaigns and point-of-sale strategies – In collaboration with the event organising related events for its target market
  30. 30. References•Farrelly F. J., Quester P. G. and Greyser S. A. (2005). Defendingthe co-branding benefits of sponsorship B2B partnerships: The caseof ambush marketing. Journal of Advertising Research, 45 (3), 339-348•French Olympic Committee – CNOSF- (2006). La protection desmarques et du territoire Olympiques, CNOSF Conference, 24th ofJanuary 2006, Paris, France•Meenaghan, T. (1994).Ambush marketing: immoral or imaginativepractice? Journal of Advertising Research, 34 (5), 77-88•Sandler, D. M. and Shani, D. (1989) Olympic sponsorship vs.ambush marketing: who gets the gold?, Journal of AdvertisingResearch, 29 (4), 9-14•Walliser B. (2006). Le parrainage - Sponsoring et Mécénat. Paris:Dunod
  31. 31. Further Reading Balasubramanian, S., Singh, B. and Singaram,A. (2003). Indian cricketers encounter ambush marketing 2002.Global Business Review, 4 (1), 201- 211