Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Off lately I have been reading a lot about parasitic marketing otherwise known as ambushing. ‘Ambush marketing is a form of marketing in which a group takes advantage of an event (that is usually highly publicized, documented, and seen by many) but with no affiliation with the event and no fee is paid’. The most recent example was in FIFA world cup where a few women wearing orange dresses were detained on charges of ambush marketing as there outfits were sponsored by the leading Dutch beer brand Bavaria, although they bear no logo. The brand Budweiser being the official sponsor of FIFA saw it as a ambushing as the color orange was associated with Bavaria.
What FIFA saw as 'a marketing ambush': women in orange dresses at the Holland v Denmark World Cup game on Monday. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images

Now anyone who would read the above definition would have a negative opinion on ambush marketing and might think only small players do this to gain attention but even bigger players like Nike have been accused of ambushing in FIFA this year. Research shows that people are associating Nike more than Adidas who is the official sponsor of FIFA.

But the question here is what Bavaria did is it ambushing? A few girls came in orange dresses, they didn’t mean any harm to the official beer Budweiser, neither had they used their logo nor did they promote the brand Bavaria. If the sponsors have some privileges they do enjoy it, but what’s wrong when all other companies see these world’s largest events as opportunities. If they try to get a bit of the thematic space or the share of mind what wrong in that. It’s not an offense until they don’t violate the rules of the event or the rights of sponsors like using the logos of the event on their products.

An official sponsor can buy the marketing space but not the consumers mind. The thematic space of the consumers has its own right to select whichever brand it likes and associate it with the event. It’s totally absurd to ban products from entering into the event area, be it the t-shirts or aerated drinks of the competitors. The sponsors have whole lot of space to use and they should utilize it wisely to associate with the event rather than stopping the competitors’. If I like Pepsi and I am looking forward to enjoy the game with a can of Pepsi rather than Coke (official sponsor) then I should be allowed to do so. Just by stopping me this one day will not make me change my perception about Coke.

Hence ambushing is ethical until they follow the rules and don’t directly harm the official sponsor. It’s all about how the sponsor utilizes the opportunity of being associated with the event and the way it differentiates itself as the official sponsor.

1.      www.optimum7.com
2.      www.guardian.co.uk
-Summu Saif


siddharth said...

great stuff!

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