A Simple Simple Short Shot
Ambush Marketing: A Common Guerrilla Marketing Tactic
Should you engage in these advertising techniques, or do they sour your brand?
With the Olympic Games in full swing it’s time to address one of the most notorious kinds of free riding: Ambush Marketing. There’s a few different kinds of ambush marketing, some more underhanded than others, but no matter what, it all boils down to a certain level of guerrilla tactics.
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At its simplest, ambush marketing is wearing a brand of t-shirts behind the head coach at a televised hockey game, knowing that logo will be broadcast around the world. On the more devious end Beats by Dre handed their noise cancelling headphones to athletes at the London and Beijing Olympics and were pleased to see them wearing them on TV.
The most notorious ambushing took place at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Reebok was the official sponsor – a move which cost the athletic giant $50 million dollars. Nike usurped their spend by giving Michael Johnson a pair of remarkable gold sneakers. He wore his metallic shoes at the games, and around his neck on the cover of Time magazine giving the shoe mogul huge visibility without those pesky sponsorship costs. Nike was one of many advertisers who took advantage of the games without paying for sponsorship by building a Nike Centre right beside athlete’s village, some say inciting the harsh guidelines around Rule 40 which states that companies who sponsor athletes can’t promote the games or connect their brand to the Olympics unless they’re an official sponsor.
So how does this work for your brand? Ambush marketing is fair game and there’s lots of clever ways to do it. Pringles repackaged their chips to includes the phrase ‘These are not tennis balls’ for the Wimbledon All England Club. Or maybe you can cash in on foot traffic from Pokemon Go by aligning yourself with the movement. Just be sure no matter what you do it furthers your brand, and it coincides with the spirit of the event, or you end up gaining nothing more than a negative reputation, like Vodafone’s streaker debacle.