This report is designed to show the recent increase in ambush marketing, and how it can devalue official sponsorships of major sporting events. In recent years, companies have been leveraging themselves against competitors by portraying their brands as sponsors of events when they have not paid to associate themselves with the event. This practice of ambush marketing is illegal and this report is emphasizing the importance of brand protection.
This report is divided into 4 sections including:
1)A brief history of ambush marketing
2)Current analysis of how it affects Adidas
3)Examples of ambush marketing
4)Recommendations for future marketing strategies, using the 2014 World Cup as a focal point.
Ambush Marketing History
Ambush marketing is a marketing technique brands use to associate themselves with a particular event. In fact, brands that use this technique do not pay for the right to be officially associated. Ambush marketing can be seen during large-scale events such as the Olympics, World Cup, and the Superbowl. Companies attempt to leverage themselves against competitors without having to pay to be an official sponsor.
Ambush marketing can be seen in all industries around sports. In an article from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), in 1992 during the summer Olympics, American Express bought ad space and ran commercials saying, “You don’t need Visa to get you there.” Visa was the official credit card of those summer games. AMEX used their time on TV to show viewers that they were associated with the summer games, and they used their time to leverage themselves over Visa, who paid millions to be considered an official sponsor. This strategy causes other companies to “jump on the bandwagon” and try to leverage themselves as well, while it causes companies who are official sponsors to back out of any future contract due to the lack of advantage.
Ambush marketing is difficult to regulate, because in a free market companies are allowed to advertise and promote their products to the best of their ability. However, in recent years some companies have been taking advantage of the system. Although regulation is tough, it needs to be more strongly enforced if events want to keep their costs down by having official sponsors.
What is ambush marketing?
Ambush marketing takes place when a company attaches itself to an event without paying for the official sponsorship. They do not use the event logos or trademarks; they just make themselves appear to consumers that they are attached to the event. The goal of an ambush marketer is to make consumers believe that their particular brand is an official sponsor of the event because the consumer sees the company’s ads or products near or at the event.
Why do companies use ambush marketing?
Companies use ambush marketing because it is cheaper and sometimes more effective than becoming an official sponsor of an event. They do not have to pay the huge fees associated with sponsorship and are sometimes able to trick consumers into thinking that they are an official sponsor of that event. Companies can take the money they save from not paying the sponsorship fees and put it towards creative marketing campaigns or use it to revamp current campaigns. Another reason that companies use ambush marketing is that it is very difficult to be proven guilty in court. Therefore, many official sponsors are reluctant to take complaints or allegations of ambush marketing to court. Ambush marketing is technically illegal, but very few cases have actually gone to trial.
Examples of Ambush Marketing