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Archived updates for Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More Legislation to Fight Ambush Marketing

According to James Nurton writing for Managing Intellectual Property, New Zealand has now become the latest country to propose special protection for "ambush marketing" in the lead up to hosting the 2011 Rugby World Cup and the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. Other countries which have already passed such laws include Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

According to New Zealand Sports and Recreation Minister Trevor Mallard, the term "ambush marketing" was invented in the early 1990s by a marketing executive at American Express, Jerry Walsh:
In its original concept, the term ambush marketing was intended to convey the idea of healthy competition. But since the early 1990s the term has acquired negative connotations and now means something akin to commercial theft. Ambush
marketing describes the actions of companies or advertisers who seek to associate themselves (their goods or services) with a sponsored event such as the Olympic or Commonwealth Games or the Rugby World Cup. The ambush marketer
cashes in on the goodwill and popularity of the event by creating an association between itself and the event without having to pay any sponsorship fees. It is a form of "free riding."

"It is impossible to host major events these days without enormous financial contributions from large sponsors," says Mr. Mallard. "These companies will not provide sponsorship dollars if others are allowed to manipulate public perceptions by falsely suggesting a link with these events."

On the other hand, Abram Sauer writes for that as ambush marketing becomes more and more widespread – and acceptable – the biggest losers will be the events themselves:
. . . the bottom line is that ambushing is probably just the next step on the marketing evolutionary ladder. Never a gentle industry to begin with and with consumers becoming increasingly conscious about being the end of the means,
brands that spend their time sniveling about "fairness" will most likely have little audience for their whimpers. Adidas America spokesperson Travis Gonzolez sums up the ambush marketing debate, "If everyone throws up their logos, it’s all-out war."

"Sport," George Orwell once said, "is just war minus the
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