16 June 2010

Ambushed again: the shill of the skirt

I am by no means an marketing expert but when a news story flashed across the wire concerning ambush marketing at the World Cup I was curious to know more. 30 women came to the Netherlands Denmark game dressed in orange skirts which were apparently tied to a give-away by an non-FIFA sponsor brewer (Bavaria).
For an academic look at ambush marketing I read this article by Jason Schmitz.
It also took a bit of turn when it was discovered that an ITV commentator bought the tickets for these women in orange skirts even though FIFA stipulates such bulk ticket purchases should be for friends or family.
Bavaria denies any wrongdoing.  The South African police view these marketing infringements "in serious light," according to a statement. So if 30 fans showd up in the same orange strip of the Holland team which was acquired in another non-sponsor giveaway would police act the same? Maker of the jersey, Nike, is not an official sponsor or partner. If they want to be consistant they should.
The Athens Olympics seemed to come done hard on everthing from food to clothing in the venues.
So before you think South African government is grasping at straws in trying to prosecute offenders who would use ambush marketing - South Africa amended its laws to create the designation of protected event of such is FIFA World Cup.
The Dutch fans are typically wild about wearing orange. The ticket scandal will be easier to prosecute especially since the ambush was alleged undermining mega-brand Budweiser and no trademark seemed to be involved with the infraction. Therefore the a court would need to prove that consumer sophication would be such that seeing these orange skirts made them think of Bavaria Beer [see my additional comments below because I changed my mind.] Still they made quite a stir at the venue.
Yet, it is in the best interest of FIFA and the organizers to protect its sponsors because they are the ones which dropped millions, if not billions of dollars for their designation as official sponsor or partner.
Just goes to show how protectionist large properties (i.e. Olympics, FIFA World Cup) have become in the modern age so much so they can even influence national policy to even make spectators remove trademarked goods of non-sponsors.
Nevertheless without the 30 skirted women (fans) the Netherlands went on to win, albeit in a bit unconvincingly. Still a win is a win.
Associated content: Yahoo coverage of shilling skirts

After reading the Yahoo account I see the situation a bit clearer, especially since these ladies entered the game as Danish supporters (red clothing) and then removed the attire to reveal the orange skirts thereby creating a scintillating event. And yes a small tag on the bottom of the skirts identified the brewer- Bavaria. And Bavaria Beer has done this before.
But in confronting the ambushers FIFA and organizers ultimately lost. They gave them their publicity.

And this just in- Spain upended by the Swiss!

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