Are Lawyers Finally Seeing Sense on Ambush Marketing?

Cover LouwUsually, 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 draconian enforcement thereof, infringes on people’s liberties and even civil rights. It also touches on the fact that all of those laws that curtail the liberties of the fans, don’t actually curtail strategic ambush.

Yeah, about that time my jaw hit the floor, too. I couldn’t believe there was a lawyer who actually agrees with sponsorship strategists! In fact, some of the world’s top sponsorship strategists are quoted throughout the book – even me!

The timing of this is amazing, as we have never seen a better example of exactly what this author is talking about than at the recent London Olympics. It is my hope that London 2012 represented the nadir of rights protection, and I would be delighted to see this type of thinking start driving this aspect major events. A mix of…

  • Protecting the rights of the sponsors and events.
  • Protecting the rights of the fans and community.
  • What actually does stop ambush marketing.

If you’re involved in sponsorship law, do yourself, your clients, and the fans a favour and press pause on all of the heavy-handed, enforcement-oriented texts and read this. See if you don’t agree that there is a better, more effective way.

If you want my take on ambush marketing, I can recommend these blogs:

Why Ambush Marketing Legislation Will Never Work (and What Will)

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

17+ Ambush Marketing Resources Every Sponsorship Professional Should Review (updated)


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