Under Attack

Under Attack, by Helen Withycombe - October 2006
(Credit: Marketing Magazine)

Ambush marketing has shaken the world of sponsorship to its core. Is it a legitimate marketing channel, or parasite marketing at its worst? Helen Withycombe investigates.

Anyone who has a colleague take the credit for the success of their own project, or a lazy housemate graciously accept thanks for a wonderful party they didn't lift a finger to prepare for, must wince a little in sympathy when they see a successful example of ambush marketing. Whilst you may appreciate the audacity and creativity of brazen ambushers, it is hard not to feel a pang for the ambushee once you and yourself have been ambushed.


This implies that ambush levels the plying field as far as allowing small business to participate in large events they could not otherwise afford. As Media Man's CEO and fellow ambushers Greg Tingle points out, as far as small-scale ambush campaigns are concerned, "A little planning, project management and time investment, and away you go".


"Ambushers seem to fall into two groups - the 'bottom-feeders' who press the boundaries for a quick buck, and they major companies who have brands with cheeky personalities. Ten years ago it was 'clever', five years ago it was considered economically rational, but as contracts between properties and sponsors have evolved, ambush marketing has become far more difficult."

Maybe it's time the 'bottom-feeders' grew up.



Ambush Marketing

Kym Illman

Messages On Hold