How Ambush Marketing Will Affect Your 2016 Olympics

Thought the Olympics were all fun and games, huh? Well, it can be argued that  the behind scene marketing techniques and tactics are more competitive than the actual games. You see, the Olympic Ggames have many sponsors, and the sponsors pay big bucks to be advertised. But, Llet’s ask a question, though: does one company have the right to monopolize the Olympics with advertisements? Some companies think it’s not right, and thus this is why we get ambush marketing.

Ambush marketing occurs when companies, who are not an official sponsor of  an event, attempt to affiliate themselves with an event and capitalize off the event’s vast publicity. . So, Iif a company simply campaigned around the Rio Olympics, without ever using the Rio Olympic logos or trademarks, then the company would not be performing any illegal actions. By doing this, companies can generate revenue without being the official sponsor.

So, how did ambush marketing end up in our beloved Olympics? Well, We have Jerry Welsh to thank for that! In the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Jerry Welsh, who was the American Express Marketing Chief, attempted to associate AmEx with the Moscow Olympics. Welsh saw this opportunity as “ethically correct” because it provided people, like you and meI with, options, rather than having one company monopolize off the events. This is how the sticky situation of ambush marketing was born, but it gets so much better!

“If inventive non-sponsors mine the sponsored thematic space in a clever way, the public may come to think of them as an official sponsor. That is a testament to their marketing skills. The contrary notion, that non-sponsors have a moral or ethical obligation to market themselves away from the thematic space of a sponsored property, is nonsense.” – Jerry Welsh

Welsh’s idea of ambush marketing took off with two large monstrous camera companies facing off during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and 1988 Seoul Olympics. In the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Fuji became the official Olympics sponsor, but Kodak sponsored the TV broadcast. With this happening, Kodak was able to advertise to the people without being the official sponsor. Granted, in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the tables were turned when Kodak became the official Olympics sponsor, and Fuji held the sponsorship for TV broadcast rights.

When talking about ambush marketing in the Olympics, the 1992 Barcelona Olympics tops the list, with its’ nasty marketing tactics and original Dream Team. But, iIt was also this coveted Dream Team that pushed the ambush marketing platform. Coca-Cola claimed the coveted status as the official sponsor for the 1992 Olympics, but there
was only one problem: . Dream Team member, Magic Johnson, was a spokesman for Pepsi;, wso when Pepsi commercials aired with Magic in them, it gave the allusion that Pepsi, and not Coca-Cola, was the official sponsor for the 1992 Olympics. Coca-Cola wasn’t the only company to have this problem. , as Nike and Reebok had a similar situation;. Nike sponsored the press conferences for the U.S. basketball team, while Reebok was the official sponsor of the Ggames. Imagine being Reebok…, you spent big money on being the official sponsor, but when the press conference takes place, Nike is plastered all over the background wallpaper…yikes! But, perhaps Tthe most iconic ambush marketing moment of these Olympics took place, though, when Michael Jordan, who we all know is a Nike man, covered up Reebok’s logo before accepting the gold medal…talk about harsh!.

While the ’84 and ’88 Olympics jockeyed for sponsorship rights, and the ’92 Olympics had nightmares with logos, the 2000 Sydney Olympics had the most interesting coat-tail ambush marketinging element. Coincidentally, there was a striking similarity in the slogan for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, “Share the Spirit” and the slogan for Qantas Airlines, “The Spirit of Australia”.

We see ambush marketing everywhere. , Wwe have seen it in past Olympics, and we will see it in the 2016 Rio Olympics. But, howHow can you effectively spot ambush marketing during the Rio games, though? Direct ambush marketing methods include: predatory ambushing, coat-tail ambushing, likeness infringements, and ambush by degree. Predatory ambushing is when Company A takes the offensive and attacks Company B who is the official sponsor; you will normally see this one with big name companies, since they can afford to make any necessary payoffs. Coat-tail ambushing is when Company A decides to capitalize off an event but doesn’t use any trademarks or logos; this is classic ambush marketing to a “T”. Likeness infringement is when Company A has the audacity to intentionally use trademarks and logos similar to protected ones.
Lastly, ambush by degree is when an official sponsor goes above and beyond what is stated in their contract; an example of this would be if, Company B owes an event shoes but supplies both shoes and shirts.

There is such a thing as indirect ambush marketing too, which includes: ambush by association, value based ambushing, ambushing by distraction, and parallel ambushing. Ambush by association occurs when Company A’s brand is put into an event through other channels, without being the official sponsor. Ambushing by association is when Company A has nothing to do with an event, but somehow gets associated with it.

Ambushing by distraction happens when Company A and an event are tied together in the consumer’s mind through themes. Lastly, parallel ambushing occurs when Company A and Company B must compete for public attention; an example of this would be, the Minnesota Twins stadium and Minnesota Timberwolves arena are basically right next to
each other; , and this can cause conflict.

So thereThere you have it,: direct and indirect ambush marketing in a nutshell. Will it happen in the Rio Olympics?, Ssure. The most anticipated question though will be, what techniques and tactics will Company A use to steal limelight, while Company B is the official sponsor of the 2016 Rio Olympics? While we wait and watch that question unfold, try to sit back and enjoy the games while you can because, I can assure you, ambush marketing is coming to the Rio Olympics. near you.

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