Soccer?s biggest event, the World Cup, is an attractive promotional opportunity for marketers worldwide.? And like other major global sporting events, such as the Olympic Games, the organizers of the World Cup like to control the promotional activites taking place during this month-long event.? They do this mainly by requiring marketers to pony up big dollars for sponsorship rights, which give the sponsor exclusivity over promotion of products in a certain product category.? With such agreements in place, one would think those not on the sponsorship list would not bother running promotions during this event.? Well, not exactly.? There is always ambush marketing.
As this story discusses, ambush marketers look to take advantage of the attention surrounding high-profile sporting events by using techniques that make it seem they are sponsors, but in reality they are not.? In the past, ambush marketers have used methods such as erecting large billboards near event venues and, at last year?s British Open golf championship, floating a boat offshore containing an advertiser?s logo.? Considering the often unconventional techniques used for ambush marketing, some may think only smaller, unknown companies would engage in this type of marketing.? Yet, several famous marketers have also engaged in these techniques such as Nike, Pepsi and Boss.
In many ways, this is a cat-and-mouse game.? Though, one would imagine the creativity of ambush marketers will continue to be on display despite attempts by event organizers to stop them.
After Nike upstaged official sponsor Reebok at the 1996 Olympic Games by covering Atlanta with billboards, the International Olympic Committee called time on the practice. The result: the organizers of the 2012 Olympics in London have been required to make sure legislation is put in place to help secure key advertising sites ? from city-center billboards to spots at the major airports and train stations ? for the use of official sponsors.
Are there any ethical issues with the marketing techniques used by ambush marketers?
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