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ambush Marketing Examples

All About The ambush Marketing Examples

Ambush Marketing Examples – All ambush marketing Examples major sporting events from Olympics to World Cup Football to major 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 such huge amounts of money that smaller players can’t possibly dream about it.

If a company doesn’t have the huge budgets 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 real sponsor may have put for the event.

This strategy of gaining publicity without investing as much as official sponsors were witnessed in Olympics and all major 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.

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Many companies risk the prospect of being taken to court and fined and the people behind the ambush marketing meaning sentenced for indulging in the illegal activity. Hence, many companies could opt for opportunistic marketing Examples that enables brands to push the boundaries of what is possible by creatively associating themselves with a major event or experience without making a direct mention of it, according to Laura Cole.

Ambush marketing Examples 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 an event 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 view ambush marketing Examples as a serious crime urging people not to indulge in it.

The Bavaria campaign took place when the official beer sponsors were the Anheuser Busch Budweiser who had paid to organizers to get the title. It was reported that Bavaria has the 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.

With the level of risk and litigation involved in the ambush campaign, many small and medium businesses are discouraged from such activity, experts said. 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 1996 Olympics, Reebok was the official sponsors 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’ iPod nano-chromatic campaign with a text saying we recycle leftover paint.
  • In the 2010 World Cup, South African airline, Kulula dubbed itself as 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 free seats to anyone name Sepp Blatter, the name of 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 at 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 near AUS$850 full retail price.
  • Once Stella Artois, beer maker, ran a campaign of 15 ads along the Long Island Rail Road station near Billie Jean King National Tennis Center even as 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 1984 Olympics, Fuji was the official event sponsors. But rival Kodak rain an aggressive television ad campaign that created the perception that they were the official sponsors.

Ambush Marketing Definition

Broadly speaking there are two types of ambushing in marketing. One is direct ambushing while the other is indirect. The former is illegal and may invite penalty and imprisonment in some countries. But indirect ambushing is a subtle form of branding in an event without reference to it.

  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 a 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 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 which already has a main sponsor. Ambush Marketing Example is a sportswear company sponsoring a star football player of a team while the entire event may be sponsored by its rival.
  • Property infringement is another form of direct ambushing whereby logos, designs, and literature of the event are unauthorized used by companies to promote themselves which is highly illegal. It could also be in the form of references to players, teams, events, words or symbols associated with the event.
  1. Indirect forms of Ambush Marketing Meaning

Several types of indirect ambushing are being adopted by companies, 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 major event but not as a sponsor most of the time making no mention of it at all. In 2008 Olympics at Beijing, Nike frequently used the number 8, a symbol of luck and fortune in China and was not an official sponsor.
  • During 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 which 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.
  • In distractive ambushing strategy, the company sets up a kiosk or a publicity unit very near to its rival. The best example is 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.

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Some features of ambush marketing meaning campaigns

Ambush campaigns are causing sleepless nights for organizers of sports events and even other marketers. However, they continue to be used in subtle forms by companies around the world despite the fact that organizers are working hard with law enforcement agencies to curb such activity.

  • Targeting the young: Ambush campaigns are targeted at young age groups typically in the 18-34 age group and appealing to the millennial demographic. They are characterized by their increased use of technology, sense of connectivity, social media presence and increased exposure to the electronic medium.
  • Creative and intelligent: Companies and ad agencies that develop the ambush campaigns are very creative, 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 on roadways or through mass media campaigns.
  • It is both legal and illegal: Ambush marketing Examples 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 so that they do not violate any law.

Who can benefit?

Although small and medium companies are most likely to try out ambush marketing meaning, even major companies indulge in this exercise from to time as illustrated by examples shown earlier. 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 huge money to get into the tournament. Recent efforts to legally curb ambush marketing Examples were seen during the London Olympic Games, Paralympic Games Act of 2006 and also during the Brazilian World Cup of 2014.

According to legal counsel, Ben Stevens, any company looking forward to ambushing marketing strategy need to use imagination and identify opportunities to promote as Oreo did in 2013 Super Bowl. Many events are sustainable due to sponsorships and if ambush marketing takes away the charm of putting huge money into such events, there would be internal pressures in companies to spend money on such events legitimately.

In many countries, a uniform and clear definition of ambush marketing Definition haven’t emerged. According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK,  ambush marketing Examples is a form of strategic marketing which is designed to capitalize upon the awareness, attention, goodwill, and other benefits, generated by having 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 organizer of a sporting event doesn’t approve it In the South African case study of Bavaria beer campaign, a group of blonde’s wearing yellow dresses were arrested despite the fact that the women weren’t wearing distinctive logos or claiming to be official sponsors.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing Examples cautioned that in many ambush marketing Examples cases reported, the companies weren’t trying to commit the crime of passing-off, rather, they want to gain good exposure for their own 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 draw a distinction between whether or not passing-off has been attempted and/or confusion exists in the mind of the consumer regarding who is the real sponsor.

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