Saturday, April 17, 2010

Nike expected to try ambush marketing at World Cup 2010

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Ambush marketing is expected to play a big part in World Cup 2010. Ambush marketing is the term used to describe the marketing efforts of brands that are not official sponsors of an event. These brands use big occasions, such as major sporting events, and arrange a lot of outside activities in the vicinity to benefit from the audience that the main event will draw. The hope is to get large impact without spending as much as the sponsors shell out. The FIFA website says that the trend towards ambush marketing started in the 1990s. In the 2006 FIFA World Cup there were reports of 3300 rights infringement spread across 84 countries. There is expectation that 2010 will be a record year for this.

Nike is expected to try and upstage adidas, which is the official sponsor for the World Cup. Adidas Australia's marketing director Simon Millar feels that, "The adidas three stripes will be highly visible. I don't believe our competitors have an avenue to portray themselves as the official sports brand without facing serious repercussions. That said, they do sponsor competing teams and athletes and I would expect them to leverage those associations."

Seasoned ambush marketer Nick Callander, of marketing agency Ignition, says that "Nike will definitely try and ambush adidas, as will a number of other brands. It always happens at every sporting event because it's a cheap way to generate noise around your brand.'' Callander says ambush marketers should stay mobile to avoid breaching any legalities. "The authorities can move you on, so you've got to create your activity so you're always on the move. Then there's nothing stopping you because you're not in breach of the event or the sponsorship guideline. Ambush marketing won't deliver the commercialised depth of a broadcast sponsor, but it's a worthwhile form of marketing."

Managing director of Sydney ad agency George Patterson Y&R Phil McDonald has reservations about this kind of marketing. "Consumers know who have earnt the association properly and those who are only trying to. This can result in major credibility issues for the ambusher."