What is Ambush Marketing?

At the present stage of marketing development, not only those types of marketing that contribute to the development of the enterprise (goods or services offered to them and their promotion to the market) are introduced, but also varieties that have a negative impact on the activities of enterprises. One of these varieties is ambush marketing campaigns.

Definition Ambush Marketing

Any company dreams of sponsorship because in this way it can tie the fans' love to their brand. But not all companies can afford to sponsor a sports event. Fortunately for these companies, it is enough for them to have creative marketers who can associate their company or brand with a certain sporting event with much lower costs. This is how the ambush marketing appeared. This is a kind of guerrilla marketing, whose main task is to create associations of the advertiser with a certain sporting event in the eyes of the fans without paying sponsor fees.

Types of Direct Ambush Marketing

  • "Predation" is a deliberate false claim for official sponsorship by a non-sponsoring company;
  • "Coattail" is an attempt of the brand to directly associate itself with a sporting event, connecting to the event on a legal basis, but not including financial sponsorship;
  • Marketing over trademarks/infringement on similarity is the deliberate unauthorized use of protected intellectual property;

Types of Indirect Ambush Marketing

  • "Associations" is the use of images or terminology unprotected by the law on intellectual property, to create the illusion that a company or brand is related to a certain event;
  • "Distraction" is a promotional presence of a company or brand at an event or next to an event, even without creating certain links between themselves and a sporting event, in order to attract attention to the audience of the event.

Pros and Cons of Ambush Marketing

Nevertheless, ambush marketing has a number of obvious advantages that include the following:

  • there is no need to organize and control sponsorship;
  • there is no need to adhere to the terms of contracts or seek appropriate permits - you can use any creative ideas at your discretion;
  • there is no need to pay sponsorship fees - it is still an advantage of the shady marketing, although it is not its primary cause.

However, this method of promotion has its drawbacks:

  • you play by the rules of your competitor, not by your own
  • lack of partnership - you need to create prerequisites for profit on your own, as you will not be able to take advantage of a partnership;
  • if the sponsor starts his game, your opportunities in the shady marketing are limited;
  • the organization of correct ambushing marketing is not an easy task.

Of course, for a company that uses "ambush marketing," this method allows in original and less expensive ways, in comparison with official sponsorship, to attract attention to themselves or their brands, and to associate them with a certain sporting event. But, at the same time, "marketing from an ambush" causes significant damage to the official sponsors of sports competitions, often not allowing them to get all the expected benefits and profits from sponsorship. Hence there are the talks about the legality of the "ambush" attack. Although, in fact, the opposition of ambush marketing strategies and official sponsorship gives an extremely positive effect, as it constantly improves the quality of the latter.

Examples of Ambush Marketing

Unfortunately, at the moment no significant event or project can boast of a complete lack of ambush-marketing. The imperfection of legislation, as well as insufficient opposition from the organizers, contributes to the "parasitization" of ambush brands with the funds of official sponsors. The more powerful the methods and tools to combat this type of marketing are, the smarter, more experienced and thoughtful the ambush campaigns become. As an example, we can recall the Olympics in Sydney in 2000: the slogan of Qantas Airlines is surprisingly similar to the slogan of the official sponsor of the games - Ansett Air.

Who Employs Ambush Marketing?

The subjects of this type of marketing are:

  • the company-sponsor of the event;
  • the unscrupulous company;
  • the event organizers;
  • the event visitors (potential consumers).

How to Protect Your Brand from Ambush Marketing

When planning and implementing a significant sponsorship project, the following actions are required:

  1. Clear planning of the anti-ambush program and conducting a preventive campaign; preliminary analysis of the possibilities of ambush-marketing, development of a counteraction mechanism, formalized in an official contract with the organizer and third parties involved in the project.
  2. Support from the state authorities. Opportunities for commercial organizations in combating ambush-marketing are less than those of state bodies with great powers. Exclusively law enforcement agencies and specialized state organizations can administratively stop the ambush campaign.
  3. Creation of anti-ambush-team within the project. To monitor ambush-marketing, combat it, and quickly respond to it, during the event, the organizers together with the sponsors should organize an anti-ambush group.
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