To make things clear from the beginning lets start with a definition. What is ambush marketing? Business dictionary.com defines it as, “A marketing technique in which advertisers work to connect their product with a particular event in the minds of potential customers, without having to pay sponsorship expenses for the event. An example of ambush marketing might involve selling music merchandise just outside the grounds of a concert without the consent or awareness of the concert promoters, relying on association with the concert to drive sales.” In a way ambush marketing is a cheap and creative way to market products and services, but it can come with a steeper price, like the ladies at the World Cup in South Africa who were escorted out of the stadium for promoting Barvaria Beer. Ethics are an important aspect of ambush marketing to consider and while this is not the exact subject of this post I will mention it as the topic arises.
Ambush marketing can take a nosedive or become very successful if used with the right strategy and effort. Nike is one company that has successfully used ambush marketing to promote their brand at sporting events. I was surprised to find out that most ambush marketing activities occur at sports events. An article titled Nike, Famous Ambusher, Is Redefining the Art of Ambush Marketing http://blog.performanceresearch.com/2012/07/26/nike-famous-ambusher-is-redefining-the-art-of-ambush-marketing/ highlights the way Nike successfully used a campaign for the 2012 Olympics as an unofficial sponsor.
Titled, Finding Greatness the campaign featured un-famous actors competing and training as stated here, “The ad campaign they revealed yesterday pushes a message no ambusher has ever attempted to sell: official doesn’t mean great. You don’t need official equipment to play a great game, you don’t need to be an official Olympic Gold medalist to be a great athlete, and you don’t need to be an official sponsor of the Olympics to be a great brand.” This is an amazing message to connect with the average person, Nike knows their stuff.
Taking the Bavaria Beer approach and comparing it to Nike’s approach it is apparent that because Nike put a lot more effort time and probably money into developing their ambush marketing strategy. However creative and edgy the girls promoting Bavaria Beer were to market the product, the official sponsor Budweiser had a greater influence because of their status sponsoring at the World Cup the Bavaria ambush campaign was unsuccessful. You can read more about that story at the following link, http://blog.amsterdamprinting.com/2010/07/27/5-companies-launch-ambush-marketing-attacks/
Traditional methods of marketing ensure that a product will get exposure and brand awareness and the power that comes with that can defeat incoming ambush tactics. However, ambush marketing can be very successful if planned and well developed.