Ambush Marketing Douglas J. Wood Partner Reed Smith LLP
Investment in sponsorship fees Location$ Amount Seoul (1988) US$ 338 Million Barcelona (1992) US$ 700 Million Turin (2006) US$ 4 Billion Beijing (2008) Main Sponsors US$ 80 Million (2005-2008) each
What is ambush marketing? • Origin • Circa the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles (first Olympic games to market sponsorship) • Created by frustrated marketers (non sponsors) who turned to ambush marketing to: • maintain some association with the event
What is ambush marketing? • Generally defined as: • marketing and promotional activities that: • seek an association with a sponsored event • without the authorization or consent of the organizer of the event or sponsor, and • without paying the requisite fee
What is ambush marketing? • Goal: • to misappropriate or capitalize on the goodwill and popularity of the sponsored event • intentionally confuse the public into thinking that the ambush marketer is the official sponsor of the event
What is ambush marketing? • to deflect some attention away from the competing sponsors • to reduce the effectiveness of their communication while also undermining the value and the quality of the sponsorship opportunity that was sold
What is ambush marketing? • The result: • consumers may be confused as to who is the official sponsor of the event • ambush marketing may impact negatively on sponsorship rights • Therefore: • sponsors seek some guarantee from the organizer of the event that offenders will be pursued (in the sponsorship agreement)
Forms of ambush marketing • Simultaneous promotions (for example: sample/free product distribution at sponsored event, billboard advertising or flying blimp with advertiser’s mark over venue) • Purchase of sub-category rights (for example: broadcast rights purchased from a TV network from marketers who are not official sponsors of the event for the duration of the sponsored event)
Forms of ambush marketing • May involve the misappropriation of trademarks available to official sponsors by the use of logos or images associated with the event (example: Olympic rings) or involve design variations of protected logos • Often done by using city, country or even generic names to avoid trademark infringement • May involve the use of official tickets or prizes in sweepstakes to imply an association with the organization or event
What is allowed? Best Media Markt ever: We will get the Title!
What is allowed? There is only one attraction in 2006: Why don‘t you drive there?
ItalyThe Specific law No. 167 of August 17th, 2005 • Introduces measures to protect the Olympic symbols during the Turin 2006 Olympic Winter Games • Reserves all rights concerning use of Olympic symbols to: • Italian National Olympic Committee • Organizing Committee for the 20th Winter Games, and • Executive Agency of the 20th Winter Games • Allows use by third parties on prior authorization
Italy • The Law: • Prohibits: • publication, commercial distribution and sales of products or services with distinctive signs likely to suggest the existence of a license, authorization or other form of association, • explicitly bans “ambush marketing” (i.e. “activities for profit performed in parallel to those properly licensed or authorized.”
Italy • The Law: • Provides (aside from ordinary remedies available for TM infringement, unfair competition and misleading advertising): • administrative sanctions (fines) from Euro 1,000 up to Euro 100,000, • enforcement through Financial & State Police and competent Legal Authorities, • possibility of obtaining seizure of all infringing products, • protection coverage until December 31st, 2006.
How did it work? • No Olympic Pizza or Cake on sale in Turin • No fly zone over sports venues • Bar Olympic (pub in central location) had to cover the logo • Same obligation for a sports apparel and equipment shop
How did it work? • At sports venues: • Special sponsor brand protection teams asked reporters: • to cover the logos on their laptops with black electrical tape, • to strip of logos from their beverage bottles, or • to put them under the desk. • Logos on porcelain in venues’ restrooms were also tape covered
How did it work? Despite huge efforts some teams run afoul Logo on the helmet, duly covered
The TARGET Express Train • A moving billboard • Spectators approaching the sports venues travelled on special “Target Express” trains: • red and white bull’s-eye logos everywhere • when leaving at stations connecting to Olympic locations, riders were provided with wooden train whistles, air horns, and large foam gloves shaped as hands, all with Target’s logo • Riders were greeted with the slogan “Target helps you express your passion. Get ready to make some noise!"
What else has been allowed? • Examples: • “Our lemonade for the World Cup ...“ • “For the World Cup, we are presenting ...“ • “We are flying you to the soccer World Cup 2006 “ • “Our World Cup special: ...“ • “For the soccer World Cup 2006, we are dropping our prices for the period from ...“
London 2012 • In discussion, protection on: • Other words as: “games”, “medal”, “gold”, “silver”, “bronze” • “2012”, “sponsor”, “summer” • While a fierce struggle takes place between: • Sponsors/Organizers (in favour of maximum protection) • Business and Advertising Industry (worried about excessive barriers/restrictions)
London 2012 • Relaxed Italian last-minute approach: • a new law 6 months prior to the OWGs in Turin • Pragmatic British way of dealing with money issues: • a draft bill 6 years ahead of the 2012 Games in London
London 2012 • Draft bill proposes protection on: • Words “Olympic”, “Olympiad”, “Olympian/Olympic rings” • Team GB & BOA logo, British Paralympic Ass. & team logos • Words London 2012, London's bid logo & derivatives of London2012.com, • 2012 Games logo and mascots (not designed yet), • Olympic motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (Faster, Higher, Stronger)
London 2012 Tactics like this won’t be allowed in London.
CHINAAMBUSH MARKETING 2008 Beijing Olympics
China is poised to become the world’s second largest consumer market by 2014 • From 1979 to 2005, China’s real GDP grew at an average annual rate of 9.6% • GDP hit 18.2 trillion yuan (US$2.3 trillion) in 2005 • Retail sales in 2005 reached US$827 billion
China Laws & Regulations • No specific laws or regulations on ambush marketing. • Laws that have some effect are: • Article 21 of the Advertising Law of the PRC • Article 2 of the Law Against Unfair Competition of the PRC
China’s Fight Against Ambush Marketing • Beijing Regulations on the Intellectual Property Protection of Olympics-related IPRs • Regulations on the Protection of Olympic Symbols • Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Sponsorship Program
Are the Measures Enough? Beijing Beijing Regulations on the Intellectual Property Protection of Olympics-related Intellectual Property Rights China State Council Regulations on the Protection of Olympic Symbols ●Olympic symbols and emblems ●Mascots ●“Olympic Games” ●“Green Olympics” “Beijing 2008”, ●“Implied commercial purposes” Organizing Committee (“BOCOG”) ●No advertisements allowed in any Olympic venue without BOCOG approval ●Size and location of logos on athlete’s apparel strictly regulated ●All outdoor advertisements in the host and co-host cities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Qingdao, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao) are managed by BOCOG
Lacoste vs. Niannian Gao, et. al. • Seizure of infringing goods • Apology in China newspapers • Stop to production and sale • Fine of Rmb760,000, roughly US$100,000 • Retailer liability
Finding Balance in Ambush Marketing • Review the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Sponsorship Program • Adopt a comprehensive sponsorship package • Consolidate, enhance and protect the rights and privileges of the sponsoring corporations • Find balance in the anti-ambush marketing program of BOCOG