The term Ambush Marketing is the talk of the time across the world these days. It refers to a marketing strategy wherein rival companies associate themselves with a particular event which already has another official sponsor. The term ambush was first coined by the marketing strategist, Jerry Welsh from American Express company in the 1980s. The word “Ambush” has a dictionary meaning which means- an act or instance of attacking unexpectedly from a concealed position. It is thus a concept where advertisers engage themselves in a particular event for the promotion of their own goods and services by showcasing their creative ideas and efforts but without paying any kind of sponsorship fees to the organizers of that particular event.

Evolution of Ambush Marketing

The first case of Ambush Marketing was witnessed in 1984 Olympics when Kodak sponsored a TV broadcast of the games as well as the US track team even though Fuji Photo Film company of Japan was the official sponsor. In the same event Nike was also seen campaigning for its products even though the official sponsor was Converse. Thereafter, during the summer Olympics held in the year 1988 at South Korea, Kodak was the official sponsor of the games, however, Fujifilm sponsored the games through an internal committee in South Korea. Ambush marketing was first observed in Olympics games, however, it did reach other sports events also like FIFA world cup, Super Bowl, UEFA Championships, Cricket World cup, etc. The reason behind the rapid growth of Ambush Marketing cases is due to its time and cost effectiveness. The brand owners don’t have to follow-up time and again with the event organizers to associate themselves with the particular event and also don’t have to incur huge cost that has to be paid to the event organizers. Further, the Ambushers also save the money spent in promotion and publicity of the goods and services by way of Print and electronic media, digital marketing, advertisement, etc. They are free to explore their creativity without any kind of restrictions and in return also get the desired result they wish to acquire. Presently, Ambush Marketing is one of the important area to be taken into consideration for the infringement of Intellectual Property and yet there are majority of countries which do not have any specific law to stop such illegal practises. Ambush Marketing is not only a result of rivalry between the different brand owners but rather it is a smarter way to seek attention and acquire the goodwill for one’s brand/ products without spending the required amount on money to gain such huge popularity. As there does not exist any particular law to stop such practise, it is done on a large scale. The mega events like Olympics and World Cup rely majorly on the sponsorships collected from various brand owners and in return they are given exclusive rights and recognition to promote their brand. However, by way of Ambush Marketing, the brand owners who have not invested that huge amount, still get recognition and are able to promote their brand on such a large scale by way of their creative tactics.

Ambush Marketing in India

In India first case of Ambush marketing was witnessed in the year 1996 during the world cup, wherein Pepsi was seen campaigning with a Tagline “nothing Official About It” although the official sponsor for the tournament was Coca Cola. Since then there have been various instances, where such practice can be clearly seen. In Mumbai also Indian audiences have seen instances of Ambush Marketing through hoardings. It was when Jet Airways came up with a campaign saying “We’ve Changed” and on the other side, Kingfisher Airlines came up saying “We’ve Made Them Changed”. These two were further ambushed when Go airways came up with a hoarding mentioning that “We’ve Not Changed. We Are Still The Smartest Way To Fly”.

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