Ambush Marketing and the FIFA World Cup


FIFA Mobile Hack  – In the FIFA World Cup 2010, “Ambush Marketing” was at the headlines.

“Ambush Marketing” stands for a distinctive sort of advertising campaign where businesses cleverly join their merchandise or brands using a favorite, often athletic, occasion, like the World Cup. Ambushers frequently attempt to grab a free ride by paying no sponsorship fees but making customers feel they are official sponsors of this function. From a legal perspective, Ambush Marketing ranges from innovative approaches which don’t violate any law to definitely prohibited applications of logos, logos, slogans and so on.

Sports as a prime goal

McDonald’s has been the official host of the Beijing Olympics. But from the lead-up into the matches, KFC employed the advertising slogan “I love Beijing”, while Pepsi altered its customary blue headphones with red ones “to demonstrate their esteem for its entire year of China”.

Throughout the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, speaking to their new cell phone, Telecom New Zealand Ltd was powerful using an abysmal advertisement comprising the phrase “ring” (for the sound of a ringing telephone) ordered five occasions such as the Olympic rings and at the Olympic colors.

McDonald’s was at work throughout the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Its Austrian marketing campaign revealed the Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schssel holding a red-white-red scarf (the colors of the Austrian flag) stating “AUSTRIA IS WORLD CHAMPION”.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup

For the 2010 World Cup, FIFA had its hands full attempting to make sure that only official patrons promoted their brands in relation to the function.

The Dutchy women

They had been all over the press – that the 36 women who attended the Netherlands – Denmark game in South Africa sporting fitting orange dresses emblazoned with the “Dutchy” beer logo. Bavaria brewery provided the gowns for promotional purposes throughout the FIFA World Cup. The problem is, Bavaria wasn’t a formal World Cup 2010 host; Budweiser, a rival, was. The stunt was a nice instance of unlawful Ambush Marketing. The girls were escorted from the scene but the target (and then some) was accomplished: enhanced vulnerability of Bavaria’s trademark without needing to cover official sponsorship penalties.

Kulula Air

Kulula, a South African American that wasn’t an official host, put advertisements with the slogan: “UNOFFICIAL NATIONAL CARRIER OF THE ‘YOU-KNOW-WHAT'”. In the advertisement the flag, footballs and also a distinctive sort of plastic horn employed by South African fans at football suits (the so called “vuvuzela”) have been revealed. Kulula is known in South Africa because of its funny advertising. According to different reports on the world wide web, FIFA cautioned Kulula the joint use of those attributes created an unauthorised association with the occasion and was prohibited.

Kulula responded to this warning by putting new advertisements with the slogan “NOT NEXT YEAR, NOT LAST YEAR, BUT SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN”. The newest advertisement shows a bridge including the Cape Town World Cup arena and golf tees looking like vuvuzela using the corresponding text “Definitely, definitely a club tee”, along with other images with funny remarks.

Although all such actions might be contemplated Ambush Marketing from the marketing sense, from a legal standpoint we will need to differentiate.

Direct v. indirect ambush Advertising

Immediate Ambush Marketing actions, like the unauthorised, illegal use of a documented logo on merchandising products, or even a false or deceptive claim to be an official sponsor of an event, obviously constitute infringements.

Indirect Ambush Marketing, on the other hand, is much more subtle and drops within a legal gray area. Mercedes’ indirect Ambush Marketing campaign in the New York City Marathon 1997 is famous. Though Toyota was the official automotive partner of this marathon, Mercedes had its title written in the skies over the occasion by aeroplanes.

Another illustration is Media Markt’s “We will find the name” campaign in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, or the formerly mentioned KFC slogan “I love Beijing”.

Smart indirect ambushers connect the sponsored action to their own brand without violating copyright or trademark rights. The question is if the effort contributes to unlawful clients institutions or other infringements, such as unfair competition.

Trademark protection

Ambushing obviously breaches intellectual property laws when trademarks are used with no contractual right or license and signature rights have been infringed. According to the Austrian Trademark Protection Act (Markenschutzgesetz; MSchG) not merely using precisely the same sign but also the usage of a similar signal using a probability of confusion might be prohibited. The security of trademarks with standing is much more powerful. The owner of a signature with standing may ask third parties to refrain from having an identical or similar indication for products or services that aren’t like those protected under the trademark.

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