Updated June 12, 2023
Introduction to Ambush Marketing Examples
Ambush Marketing Examples – All ambush marketing Examples of major sporting events, from the Olympics to the World Cup Football to significant tennis championships, are heavily sponsored by various corporate giants, and that would be visible on the ground, in mass media campaigns, the tees that sports people wear and also in hoardings and banners. Being a sponsor involves so much money that smaller players can’t possibly dream about it.
If a company doesn’t have the enormous budget to sponsor a major sporting event, it can try out ambush marketing Examples. It means trying to ride on the wave created by a sporting event investing a fraction of the amount the actual sponsor may have put for the event.
This strategy of gaining publicity without investing as much as official sponsors were witnessed in the Olympics and all significant events. The term’ ambush marketing meaning’ was coined by Jerry Welsh and is often considered an illegal or unethical form of marketing Examples, although corporate majors do indulge in it.
According to Laura Cole, marketing Examples and research analyst, Ambush marketing Examples or ‘opportunistic marketing’ along with experience and local marketing Examples will be the trends to watch in event marketing in 2016.
Many companies risk being taken to court and fined, and the people behind the ambush marketing are sentenced for indulging in the illegal activity. Hence, many companies could opt for opportunistic marketing Examples that enable brands to push the boundaries of what is possible by creatively associating themselves with a significant event or experience without directly mentioning it, according to Laura Cole.
It sometimes takes the crude form of using logos or designs associated with the event, or sometimes it may involve subtle forms of confusing or misleading people by associating with a possibility but not paying any money in sponsorship.
The infamous Bavaria ambush campaign of 2010
All writings on ambush marketing Examples inevitably refer to the infamous Bavaria campaign in the World Cup Soccer held in Johannesburg. The Dutch brewery Bavaria engaged36 women clad in orange dresses at the football venue as a promotional campaign, although they had not paid a penny for it. Two women associated with the campaign were arrested, and South African police said that they view ambush marketing Examples as a severe crime urging people not to indulge in it.
The Bavaria campaign occurred when the official beer sponsors were the Anheuser Busch Budweiser, who had paid organizers to get the title. It was reported that Bavaria has a previous history of indulging in such alleged illegal activity as in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Fifa had directed scores of Dutchmen to remove orange lederhosen bearing the name Bavaria. Strangely enough, the South African police had taken action against the people involved but not against the company itself, according to some observers.
Experts note that ambush marketing campaigns’ risks and potential legal consequences often discourage small and medium businesses from engaging in such activities. Such campaigns often get good mileage from a sporting event without referring to the event at all.
Ambush Marketing Examples/campaigns
- Nike Ambush Marketing Definition- In the 1996 Olympics, Reebok was the official sponsor, but Nike put up a campaign with Michael Johnson’s gold shoes that glittered more than Reebok’s campaigns.
- Rona, a home improvement chain in Canada, placed an ad just below Apple’s iPod nano-chromatic campaign with a text saying we recycle leftover paint.
- In the 2010 World Cup, South African airline, Kulula dubbed itself the ‘Unofficial National Carrier of the You-Know-What.’ It invited the ire of Fifa for violation of ambush marketing Examples regulations. The next month, the airline continued its ambush game with the campaign- ‘Not next year, not last year, but somewhere in between. It launched a campaign giving accessible seats to anyone named Sepp Blatter, the Fifa head. Subsequently, it found a Boston terrier named Sep Blatter and used it as the official mascot.
- Samsung launched its Galaxy S II in 2011 but pitted its ambush campaign against market leader Apple which launched iPhone 4S in Sydney. Samsung set up a pop-up store a few feet away and attracted huge crowds by offering Galaxy S Ii for AUS $2 instead of the nearly AUS$850 total retail price.
- Once Stella Artois, a beer maker, ran a campaign of 15 ads along with the Long Island Rail Road station near Billie Jean King National Tennis Center even as the official beer sponsors were Heineken. It created an impression that Stella Artois was sponsoring the event.
- Then there is the famous BMW-Audi fight on the streets in Santa Monica, California. Audi’s A4 campaign ran like this- Your move, BMW, to which BMW showed a picture of its M3 with the words Checkmate.
- In the 1984 Olympics, Fuji was the official event sponsor. But rival Kodak rain an aggressive television ad campaign that created the perception that they were the official sponsors.
Ambush Marketing Definition
There are two types of ambushing in marketing. One is direct ambushing, while the other is indirect. The former is illegal and may invite penalties and imprisonment in some countries. But indirect ambushing is a subtle form of branding in an event without reference.
1. Direct Ambushing
Simon Chadwick And Nicholas Burton of Coventry University Business School have tried to come out with a precise definition of direct and indirect ambushing tactics in a column in Wall Street Journal; some of the direct ambush marketing tactics adopted are:
- Predatory Ambushing, Coattail ambushing, property ambushing, and self-ambushing.
In predatory ambushing or ambush by association, a company intentionally attacks its rival who has paid for sponsorship of an event by cleverly positioning people or ad campaigns on the premises or on roadways to confuse the public as to who the official sponsor is. The most quoted is the American Express (Amex) campaign against Visa in the 1992 Summer Games.
- Ambush marketing examples in sport- Coattail ambushing is an ambush marketing Definition adopted by a company to intrude into an event by sponsoring a subset of a sport with a primary sponsor. Ambush Marketing Example is a sportswear company sponsoring a star football player of a team while the entire event may be supported by its rival.
- Another form of direct ambushing is property infringement, in which companies use logos, designs, and literature from an event without authorization to promote themselves, a highly illegal practice. It could also be in the form of references to players, teams, events, words, or symbols associated with the event.
2. Indirect forms of Ambush Marketing Meaning
Companies are adopting several types of indirect ambushing; they are:
- Opportunistic ambushing, Associative ambushing, Distractive Ambushing, Values Ambushing, Insurgent Ambushing, Parallel property ambushing, unintentional ambushing, and saturation ambushing.
- In opportunistic and associative ambushing, a company tries to associate with a significant event but not as a sponsor, most of the time making no mention of it. In the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Nike frequently used the number 8, a symbol of luck and fortune in China, and was not an official sponsor.
- During the 2013 Super Bowl, there was a 34-minute delay due to a power outage. The marketing team of Orea Biscuits was clever enough to run a picture on Twitter that said, ‘You can still dunk in the dark’ without directly mentioning Super Bowl. Here again, Oreo was not an official sponsor but elicited a good response from this witty campaign.
- The company uses a distractive ambushing strategy to set up a kiosk or a publicity unit near its rival. The best example was the Samsung Galaxy campaign of 2011 when it took on rival Apple’s iPhone 4 S launch.
Sometimes, news reports and television commentary may refer to the use of a brand by a team or player, but they are sponsors of the event and thus indirectly ambush their rivals. In saturation strategy, companies hike up their advertising and promotion budgets just before and during the sports event to gain mileage without paying anything to organizers.
Some features of ambush marketing mean campaigns
Ambush campaigns are causing sleepless nights for organizers of sports events and even other marketers. Despite the efforts of event organizers and law enforcement agencies to curb such activities, companies worldwide continue to use ambush marketing tactics, often in subtle forms.
- Targeting the young: Companies typically target ambush marketing campaigns at the millennial demographic, appealing to young age groups, particularly those aged 18-34. Companies that employ ambush marketing tactics often rely heavily on technology, cultivate a strong sense of connectivity, maintain a significant social media presence, and seek to maximize their exposure through electronic media.
- Creative and intelligent: Companies and ad agencies that develop the ambush campaigns are very innovative, not short in humor, and able to attract the public attention with some clever positioning of the campaigns either in hoardings, banners on site or roadways, or through mass media campaigns.
- It is both legal and illegal: It is illegal in most countries, but companies are overcoming such regulations through subtle and indirect ambushing.
- The surprise and unexpected outcome: The most distinguishing feature is the element of surprise, humor, and timeliness in an ambushing campaign. They tend to be creative and cleverly strategized not to violate any law.
Who can benefit?
Although small and medium companies are most likely to try out ambush marketing meaning, even significant companies indulge in this exercise, as illustrated by examples. Ambush campaigns have been most associated with Fifa World Cup. Marketing experts point out that each company planning an ambush in such events should ask whether their customers resonate with the world cup.
And World Cup or other sporting events are just one of the avenues for ambush marketing Examples. The world is still out there to try such strategies. Jerry Welsh points out that if the company that employs the ambushing technique does not claim to be a sponsor when it isn’t, there is nothing unethical or illegal about ambushing in a sponsored property using creative ideas.
With the rise in ambush marketing meaning, organizers of sporting events are safeguarding the logos, copyrights, and designs and urging the local government authorities to pass laws to curb such practices as sponsoring companies’ colossal money to get into the tournament. During the London Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games Act of 2006, and the Brazilian World Cup of 2014, authorities made recent legal efforts to curb ambush marketing.
According to legal counsel Ben Stevens, any company looking forward to ambushing its marketing strategy must use imagination and identify opportunities to promote as Oreo did in the 2013 Super Bowl. Many events are sustainable due to sponsorships, and if ambush marketing takes away the charm of putting massive money into such circumstances, there would be internal pressure on companies to spend money on such events legitimately.
A uniform and precise definition of ambush marketing hasn’t emerged in many countries. The UK’s Chartered Institute of Marketing defines ambush marketing as a strategic marketing technique aimed at leveraging the benefits, such as awareness, attention, and goodwill, generated by an association with an event or property without an official or direct connection to that event or property.
International Olympic Committee sees ambush marketing Examples as ‘any attempt by an individual or an entity to create an unauthorized or false association (whether or not commercial) with the Olympic Games, the Olympic Movement, the IOC, the National Olympic Committee of the Host Country or the organizing committee of Olympic Games, thereby interfering with the legitimate contractual rights of official marketing partners of the Olympic games.’
As regulation becomes stricter, there is a feeling that previously acceptable commercial practices can now be faced with criminal charges because a powerful sporting event organizer disapproves of them. In the South African case study of the Bavaria beer campaign, authorities arrested a group of blondes wearing yellow dresses, even though the women were not sporting any distinctive logos or claiming to be official sponsors.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing cautioned that in many reported cases of ambush marketing examples, companies were not intentionally committing the crime of passing off; instead, they wanted to gain good exposure for their product and services without paying the kind of money that sponsors pay.
The anti-ambush marketing Definition laws could only be serving the interests of the monopolies or cartels. According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing Examples, the potential litigation against ambush should distinguish whether or not passing-off has been attempted, and confusion exists in the consumer’s mind regarding the actual sponsor.
This has been a Guide to Ambush Marketing Examples. Here we discussed basic concepts, features, and two marketing ambushing types. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –