ambush marketing Archives - Power Sponsorship

Sochi Ambush Marketing, Courtesy of the Wrong Olympics and a Brilliant Audi Fan

This has been a very strange Olympics, and in so many ways. The human rights abuses and Olympic hypocrisy around them; the weather; the infrastructure issues; the undrinkable water going viral. I love the Winter Olympics, but this is the most inglorious Winter Games I can remember. That’s before we get to the sponsors, who have varied between getting it wrong and not doing much at all, leaving the door open for any ambush marketers who care to get involved. I’ve already covered the “other ambushers”; those non-sponsors who have done a better job at reflecting world outrage than the sponsors have dared to do (and good on them!). Aside from that, there hasn’t been […] Read More

Olympic Ambush Marketing “Enforcement” Gets Ridiculous Once Again

Down here in Oz, we do pretty well in the Winter Olympics, considering we have comparatively little winter. It’s pretty exciting for us to do well. But, when young alpine skier, Greta Small, did better than expected and her home resort of Mount Hotham did the unthinkable… they congratulated her on Twitter… the Australian Olympic Committee got their undies in a bundle and sent a stern letter to Hotham, demanding they remove that and any other social media mentioning any Olympic athletes. The actual tweet, now removed, can be found below. The AOC is invoking Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter, stating that, “Except as permitted by the IOC Executive Board, no competitor, coach, trainer […] Read More

The Other Ambush: Standing Up for What’s Right when Sponsors Don’t

Normally, when the Olympics roll around, I’m having a field day picking apart sponsorship strategies and, in particular, analysing the ambush marketing activities. Truth be told, ambush marketing gets me a bit giddy, lying as it does at the intersection of strategy and troublemaking. But this time around, the ambushers haven’t come to the party like they have in the past. Hell, the sponsors haven’t even come to the party. I can just see all the usual ambush marketing suspects gloating – not because they’ve done something so clever to gain marketing benefit for their brands, but because they’re the lucky ones with no IOC contracts, so they can stay well away from this debacle. […] Read More

Alcohol Sponsorship Ban a Red Herring (Irish Edition)

I wrote the original version of this blog back in 2009, when Australian politicians were debating an alcohol sponsorship ban. With Ireland now considering the same, with potentially ruinous results, I thought I would give it an update and repost. So, here we go again. Irish politicians – who clearly know nothing about sponsorship – are going on about banning alcohol sponsorship of sport. This isn’t the only country where our industry is unfairly under fire from politicians on this subject, and some politicians and lobbyists keep rolling out new arguments to support the ban. One time it’s that alcohol sponsorship promotes underage drinking, then it’s that it promotes binge drinking. Pretty soon there will […] Read More

Are Lawyers Finally Seeing Sense on Ambush Marketing?

Usually, whenever you hear lawyers talking about ambush marketing, they’re talking about laws and enforcement. The general approach is the more laws there are around major events, and the more broadly defined those “rights” to be enforced are, the better. So, imagine my surprise when I was sent Ambush Marketing and the Mega-Event Monopoly: How Laws are Abused to Protect Commercial Rights to Major Sporting Events, by Andre M Louw. This book is part of the ASSER International Sports Law Series. That’s right, this is a real legal text that looks at the other side of ambush laws. No, not the ambusher’s side – the fans’ side. It’s largely about how anti-ambush legislation, and the […] Read More

Olympic Sponsorship Analysis – Part 8: The Fallout and the Recovery

I went into this Olympic season thinking I would be writing about ambush marketing. It’s a fascinating subject and probably the most public peek behind the curtain the average punter sees of our industry. This year, however, the real story turned out to be the lengths to which the Olympic movement and its sponsors went to “protect” themselves, and the personal freedoms and genuine national pride they were willing to quash along the way. Honestly, I have been struggling to write this. The issues are big and far-ranging, and as a heart-on-the-sleeve idealist, difficult for me to reconcile after the last few years of extraordinary sophistication growth for our industry. So, rather than having that […] Read More

Olympic Ambush Analysis – Part 7: The Cheeky, the Sneaky, and the Brilliant

While the real ambush marketing news has been about the ridiculous lengths the Games organisers have gone through to thwart ambush marketers, and the negative impact of those activities, strategic ambush has gone on unabated. That butcher who put five sausage rings in his front window learned a big lesson about the cost of national pride, as did that florist who was threatened with a huge fine. But strategic ambushers – the ones sponsors and rightholders really need to worry about – they got the job done without breaking a single rule. There were cheeky ambushers, sneaky ambushers, and brilliant ambushers. We can learn from all of them. The Cheeky Topping the category of “cheeky” […] Read More

Olympic Ambush Analysis – Part 6: I Hope You Don’t Want Fries with That

You can’t get fries without fish at the fish and chips shop in the Olympic Precinct. You can’t get fries with anything else. The only place you can get fries in the Olympic Precinct is at the world’s biggest McDonald’s. Why? Because McDonald’s insisted on having exclusive rights to serve fries. Really, McDonald’s? Were you really that scared that people being able to get a hot chip somewhere else would undermine your brand sanctity? Was it worth it? Because from here, I can’t see how having hundreds of media outlets, and many thousands of social media pundits, taking the crap out of your selfishness is doing a lot for your brand. (Yeah, I know… in […] Read More

Olympic Ambush Analysis – Part 5: Welcome to the Sponsorship Nanny State

McDonald’s is a global TOP sponsor of the IOC. So is Coca-Cola. Cadbury is a Games sponsor. There has been a lot of controversy around these sponsorships, capped off by a riveting piece of propaganda, entitled The Obesity Games. The premise seems to be that Olympic sponsorship is some sort of corporate plot to make our children obese. Seriously, if you listen to some of the commentary around these sponsorships, you’d think Ronald McDonald was force feeding people Quarter Pounders on the way into the stadiums. Except that McDonald’s provides many healthier options, and Coca-Cola bottles water, juice, sports drinks, and plenty of other health-friendly products. And isn’t a small amount of dark chocolate actually […] Read More

Olympic Ambush Marketing Analysis – Part 4: We Own You

In the past couple of days, Lord Sebastian Coe, head of LOCOG, was quoted as saying that people attending the Games should not wear Nike shoes or Pepsi t-shirts, as they would be thrown out by security. He then backpedalled, saying people wearing Nike trainers would “probably” be let in, but ticketholders wearing Pepsi t-shirts will not be allowed entry. LOCOG has further “clarified” that people can wear what they want. But wow, what a pointed illustration of the ugly lengths the Olympic movement would like to go to, in order to protect their fiefdom: We own you. We own what you wear. We own your memories and your ability to record and share them. […] Read More