London Olympics 2012 – Ambush Marketing

As the 2012 Olympics in London are set to begin, the media has been reporting on the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games’ (LOCOG) huge crack-down on ambush and guerilla marketing.  In some cases, LOCOG have gone to extreme measures.

Ambush marketing, the main problem for LOCOG, is when a brand wishes to associate themselves with a sporting event, without having paid sponsor fees to become an ‘Official Partner/Supplier’.  To do this, guerilla marketing, may – but not always – be used.  Guerilla marketing essentially involves planning a form of promotion, or a PR stunt, that does not look like it is conventional advertising (see below).

How does ambush marketing work and what does it achieve?
Essentially, ambush marketing works the same way as, and achieves the same outcomes as, sponsorship.  The difference being ambush, marketing tricks people into believing a brand is a sponsor when it is not.  Hence, the same benefit of greater brand recall can be achieved through ambush marketing without paying for the rights to do so.

The reason why there is greater brand recall is because of a process called classical conditioning (see below).

Let me put this in the context of ambush marketing.  Brands repeatedly expose themselves to consumers alongside olympic-related symbols/people/colours so that consumers become conditioned to associate the olympics with a particular brand.  Consequently, when advertising from the brand stops, but consumers are still watching the olympics, they are reminded about the brand.  Given the importance of the olympics, you can see why this is something nearly every brand wants.

Example of ambush marketing at London 2012

Despite LOCOG’s best efforts, and the fact that the games have not even started, I have noticed some ambush marketing already:

Virgin Media and Nissan using Usain Bolt

Despite BT sponsoring the olympics, Virgin media have used Bolt and a subtle Union Jack logo to make a tenuous link to the olympics.

Again, Nissan have used a similar strategy regardless that BMW are the official partners of the olympics.  Although Usain Bolt does own a GT-R, the timing of the campaign makes this an obvious ambush marketing tactic.

Haribo Union Jack Sweets
Regardless that Haribo are German sweets, and that Cadbury is an official sponsor, the confectionary now comes in Union Jack packets (see below).  This packaging is to position the sweets at ‘key occasions in 2012’ – which really means the jubilee and olympics.

If you have spotted attempts at ambush marketing, please share in the comments below.

© Josh Blatchford, author of Manifested Marketing, 23/07/2012


Leave a comment


  1. Reblogged this on Nicola.Anderson and commented:
    Found this on another page : refers back to the 2012 London Olympics. Check it out

  1. London Olympics 2012 – Ambush Marketing | Nicola.Anderson

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

  • Join 195 other followers

  • Blog Visits

  • Twitter Updates

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

  • Archive

  • Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: