The concept of “ambush marketing” is quite tricky and, in some ways, relatively brilliant. Essentially, it is a marketing campaign developed by a non-sponsor company that interferes with an event sponsored exclusively by a competitor. Major sporting events, such as the Olympics, have fallen prey to these gorilla tactics in the past. The bigger the event, the more money involved, the bigger the deal.
“Events like the Olympics and the World Cup are hugely expensive to put on, so they need big-money sponsors and this in turn means that the organizers must protect aggressively against ambush marketing,” — Phillip Johnson, a visiting senior fellow at Queen Mary, University of London. “But this means there is potentially huge exposure for anyone who manages to outwit them.”
This year, the 2010 World Cup’s exclusive beer sponsor, Budweiser, found itself to be the latest victim of “ambush marketing.” Despite the fact that Budweiser had spent millions of dollars to become the sole authorized beer sponsor of the tournament, 36 women in orange mini-dresses, representing the Dutch brewery Bavaria, infiltrated South Africa’s Soccer City Stadium during the Netherlands versus Denmark match.
The women were captured on video, causing a scene by demanding the attention of the crowd by stripping layers of clothing off and waving them around in the air.
The stunt was quickly ramified, as all of the women were ejected and two were arrested. But this did not stop it from getting the reaction it wanted. The irony is that, although Bavaria did get attention for pulling off the stunt, Budweiser also received increased exposure in the process.
The incident is currently under criminal investigation and FIFA is filing charges against the Dutch brewing company.