Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 6, 2012 10:01 AM
It's estimated that more than 10,000 athletes from 200-plus nations will be competing in this summer’s Olympics in London, but there will be an even fiercer competition going on behind the scenes.
Ambush marketing, the art of getting your corporation’s name attached to an event without spending the kazillions involved in officially doing so, could be entering its heyday with the London Games — even though organizers and lawmakers have made all sorts of rules and regulations against such things happening in order to protect the companies that have already forked over big bucks (and powerful pounds) to be involved.
In the past four years, there have been about 600 cases of ambush marketing worldwide, according to a new report spearheaded by Professor Simon Chadwick, chair at the Coventry University Business School's Centre for the International Businesss of Sport (CIBS).
The CIBS warns that “official sponsors, organizers and fans at the London Games should expect intense ambush marketing," with London 2012 become a "battleground" between officials and businesses trying to piggyback on paid sponsors' efforts. LOCOG organizers aren’t planning to let them get away with it, of course.
London 2012 organizers aim to be ready for stealth marketers by employing “ambush police" to patrol advertising efforts around the Summer Games. They're also creating “exclusive marketing zones” surrounding all of the venues involved. “Give-aways and aerial advertising will be regulated” closely. Already, a Honda digital campaign has been investigated for suspected ambush marketing.
Reuters reports that some small businesses may need to pay a fine of up to 20,000 pounds ($31,900) even if it accidentally breaks the rules and “sports fans could have items taken off them at Olympic stadiums, while they also run the risk of losing their clothes if they conflict with official sponsors' wares.” That's not a joke — some fans at the 2006 World Cup in Germany watched a game in their underwear “after being forced to remove their orange lederhosen linked to a ambusher brewer,” Reuters reports.
"It is essential that businesses are aware of what is deemed to be ambushing and what the ramifications will be of being identified as an ambusher,” said CIBS researcher Nick Burton to Reuters.
[Image via Shutterstock]