Report: 2012 to be ambush marketing "battleground"

Official sponsors can expect an intense summer of ambush marketing according to a study by Coventry University's Centre for the International Business of Sport.

The research suggests ambush marketers will go to great lengths to capitalise on this summer’s mega sporting events, like the London 2012 Olympic Games, despite Locog’s zero tolerance policy.

Professor Simon Chadwick, chair of Sport Business Strategy and Marketing at the university and one of the academics behind the study, said rival event partners and unofficial sponsors will "pounce" to ensure official partners and sponsors don’t have things all their own way.

"We are likely to see ambushers engaged in activities ranging from rival advertising through to the distribution of free gifts and the use of images deliberately designed to mislead consumers about who the ‘official’ sponsors are," he said.

"Event rights holders must consider greater exclusive marketing zones and a presence of ambush police with the authority to protect their sponsors’ investment, if they are to prevent ambushers from capitalising on the attention," he added.

CIBS researcher Nick Burton said failure to protect official sponsors can seriously affect a county’s chance of hosting similar events in the future. "Sponsors will question whether event sponsorship is the most beneficial way of spending their marketing budgets," he said.

He added there are serious lessons to be learnt from what happens this summer. "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. Ambushing is a serious matter that we all need to understand, otherwise it will prove incredibly costly for some people in the not too distant future."

As reported by Event last November, the penalties for ambush marketing during the games will be severe.

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