Ambush marketing can be defined as a marketing strategy wherein the advertisers associate themselves with, and therefore capitalize on, a particular event without paying any sponsorship fee. The Macmillan English Dictionary defines ambush marketing as a marketing strategy in which a competing brand connects itself with a major sporting event without paying sponsorship fee. According to McCarthy, ambush marketing is a type of marketing by a company that is not an official sponsor of an event, but which places advertisements using the event, to induce customers to pay attention to the advertisement. From a theoretical perspective, ambush marketing refers to a company's attempt to capitalize on the goodwill, reputation, and popularity of a particular event by creating an association with it, without the authorization or consent of the necessary parties.
The word "ambush" as used in the expression ambush marketing, means "an attack from a hidden position" and is derived from the old French verb embuschier, having the meaning "to place in a wood." The term "ambush marketing" was coined by marketing strategist Jerry Welsh, while he was working as the manager of global marketing efforts for the American Express Company in the 1980s.
Increasing cost of sponsorships: The increasing cost of sponsorships has also increased sponsor's emphasis on return-on-investment. If sponsored events do not give exclusivity, the sponsor's interest on sponsorship property will be lost and the damage will extend to the whole sponsorship market. Yet when that exclusivity is lost, the value of sponsorship is also lost. When a company engages in ambush marketing the exclusivity intended to be conferred through sponsorship to a sponsor is lost. Hence, the value of sponsorship is also lost. As it is an undeniable fact that corporate sponsorship is one of the biggest money-spinning sources of revenue for the event organizers, the loss in sponsorship value will affect the financial strength of an event organizer.
Transgression on the intellectual property rights: Even when the ambush marketers are not making any direct references to the protected intellectual property rights, they in effect transgress those intellectual property rights by attempting to capitalize on such hard earned goodwill from an event. Direct and indirect references to the event symbol or the event itself are just different means for achieving illegal transgression on the rights of event organizers. Moreover, sponsors cannot get the return they anticipated.
Limitation to freedom of expression: Specific regulations (and or laws) demanded by sponsors to guarantee their exclusive rights limit the freedom of expression of visitors to events (e.g. those who have been given free goods by the ambush marketeer). It is still undecided whether the commercial rights of sportsorganisers and sponsors trump the universal human rights issues involved.
The Quebec-based home improvement chain Rona ambushed an advertisement in the "Nano-chromatic" campaign for the iPod Nano by placing a banner under it showing the paint dripping from the iPods falling into paint cans, advertising its paint recycling services.
During a game at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, fans were asked to remove "Leeuwenhosen" colored in the orange of the Netherlands national football team, distributed and branded by Bavaria Brewery because the brewery was not an official sponsor of the event (Budweiser was the official beer sponsor). Officials distributed orange-colored shorts to fans affected by the requirement.. Bavaria Brewery was again accused of ambush marketing at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, when 36 female fans were ejected from a game (along with the arrest of two, later released, accused of violating the "Contravention of Merchandise Marks Act", a law passed in South Africa for the World Cup making ambush marketing illegal) for wearing unbranded orange miniskirts that were provided by Bavaria; Sylvie van der Vaart, wife of Dutch player Rafael van der Vaart had modeled one of the miniskirts in an advertising campaign for the brewery.  ITV media pundit Robbie Earle was fired from his role when it was claimed by FIFA that he had sold tickets meant for family and friends on to Bavaria.
Also at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, South African budget airline Kulula pulled an advertisement that FIFA claimed was creating an unauthorized association with the tournament. The advertisement had described themselves as "Unofficial National Carrier of the You-Know-What" and contained images of stadiums, vuvuzelas and national flags—symbols which FIFA claimed were considered ambush marketing when used together. Kulula poked fun at the objections in subsequent ads, one which deliberately mislabeled the items from the first ad and claiming the ad was for something "not next year, not last year, but somewhere in between", and then announced it would offer free flights to anyone named "Sepp Blatter", an offer that was redeemed by a Boston Terrier.
In October 2011, Samsung ambushed the Australian launch of the iPhone 4S by setting up pop-up store near Sydney's Apple Store; where it sold its flagship Galaxy S II smartphone to the first 10 people in line daily at a discount price of $2 AUD.
During the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, former Olympic gymnast Li Ning was the final torchbearer and ultimately lit the flame at Beijing National Stadium. However, Li Ning is also the founder of a domestic shoe company of the same name. While the Li Ning company was not an official sponsor of the games, it had still associated itself with the games through its role as an equipment supplier for several Chinese Olympic teams, and through Li Ning's status as both a Chinese sports and business icon.
Prior to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, LOCOG demanded the removal of advertisements for the bookkeeping company Paddy Power which announced that it was the "official sponsor of the largest athletics event in London this year"; however, said event was actually an egg-and-spoon race in London, Burgundy, France. LOCOG reversed its decision after Paddy Power threatened to take the organizers to court.  When announcing the planned lawsuit, a Paddy Power spokesmen quipped that "It’s a pity they didn’t put the same energy in to the ticketing and security arrangements for the Games that they put into protecting their sponsorship revenue streams."
The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 contains provisions to attempt to restrict ambush advertising at the 2012 Summer Olympics and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) announced that it would attempt to crack down on the relatively new form of online keyword ambush marketing. A study by the Global Language Monitor found that many non-affiliated brands, such as Subway, Red Bull, and Sony are among the top rated on GLM's Brand Affiliation Index (BAI). The BAI measures the perceived relationship between London 2012 and the particular brand.]
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