Policing ambush marketing at the 2012 London Olympics
That’s because the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) is taking a zero-tolerance stance regarding ambush marketing.
While companies for decades have attempted to ambush mega-events in particular by attaching their brand to the event without paying the enormous fees required to be “an official corporate sponsor,” the enforcement of anti-ambush marketing regulations has escalated considerably in recent years. And much research has been published on ambush marketing in journals such as Sport Marketing Quarterly.
London organizers plan to be extremely aggressive in protecting the official partners of the 2012 Summer Olympics. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a repeat of an incident at the 2006 Soccer World Cup in Germany, when fans wearing pants displaying the logo of an ambush marketer were stripped of that attire and thus watched the match in their underwear.
A recently released report by professor Simon Chadwick and his team at Coventry University Business School’s Centre for the International Business of Sport provides details into the depth at which LOCOG plans to combat ambush marketing. Part of the strategy is to educate companies on their ability or inability to use Olympic logos or attach their brand to the Games. Many times violations occur out of ignorance of the law.
“A lot of small- and mid-sized enterprises, in particular, are already falling foul of the law,” said Chadwick, co-editor of the recently released book Sports Entrepreneurship.
The report states that global spending on sponsorship has risen from $2 billion in 1984 to $43.5 billion in 2008. And with 600 cases of ambush marketing being reported worldwide in the last four years alone, event organizers are attempting to pacify their official sponsors by doing everything they can to protect their corporate partners against ambush companies.
While education is a portion of the plan to combat ambush marketing, another is enforcing the rules set in place by the strictly worded London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006. London officials will have “ambush police” in place throughout the event venues to protect the official sponsors’ brands.
Companies found violating ambush marketing rules will be fined. But fans, as has been shown in the past, may also pay the price by literally losing the clothes off their backs.