Posts Tagged ‘ambush marketing’


Today is the first time I have heard of ambush marketing.  Guilty.  Chinese gymnasts at the Asian Games are accused of making hand gestures during competition and medals ceremonies promoting their main sportswear sponsor Li Ning brand.   Apparently this is not uncommon and event organizers have been trying hard to stop all this ambush marketing to protect their official sponsors.   Because of the new terminology learned, I have now also discovered Predatory Ambushing, Coattail Ambushing, Property Infringement, Self Ambushing, Associative Ambushing, Distractive Ambushing, Values Ambushing, Insurgent Ambushing, Parallel Property Ambushing, Unintentional Ambushing, and Saturation Ambushing.  I have to give it to the marketers nowadays for all of their innovative means of getting their messages across.

As a sports event spectator, I really wasn’t expecting to be “ambushed” by product placements through athletes’ hand gestures. What’s next?  Athletes peeling off their uniform on stage to show us their sponsored ointment patch?

Well this reminds me of a project last year when my boss and I were invited to sit in to a series of meetings between our sales team and an Indian film academy, who was looking for sponsorship by our company for hosting their annual award ceremony, which would be televised around the globe to over 450 million viewers via Star TV.   Our company was attracted by the media value of the event, and it hits our key demographics.  However, sponsorship covers everything from local transportation to lodging to meals to production to security and so much more, and we were invited to join the negotiation team to ensure the company’s rights and interests were protected.

There wasn’t really too much to negotiate monetary wise since the sponsorship definition has been set from day one.  We knew what we were getting into, but we needed to have a good idea as to where the limit would be.  Normal lodging and meals are fine.  What if the stars and celebrities decide to throw a big private party and order 2 tons of spirit?  Will that be included?  Who calls the shots?  Who provide bodyguards?  What can they do and not do?  When do we turn over the responsibility to the local law enforcement? 

You get the idea.

The biggest concern, however, was marketing and sponsorship rights.  The counterpart clearly has a lot of experience producing the event around the world, and they fund it entirely through sponsorship deals.  Ours was the biggest piece that more or less dictates which country/location the event would eventually land.  We were looking for opportunities to get ourselves some funding but we could not get the event brand anywhere close to our campaigns.  Fine.  What we were most concerned of, however, was whether we would be “ambushed” (now I finally have the word for it) by their other sponsors.  That would seriously undermine our return-on-investment if we did not have exclusivity. 

It was a very interesting project for me and it had nothing to do with cost savings or even purchases.  The cultural differences at play is also remarkably classroom material.  When there is a chance later on, I will write something about cultural aspects at the negotiation table.

Hmm….in the meantime let me think of ways to make “ambush purchasing” up…

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