Brands warned over risks of ambush marketing during London 2012 Olympics

Brands aiming to associate themselves with the London 2012 Olympic Games without official rights have been warned they run the risk of damaging their reputations if they do not work in accordance with the law.

Podcast: Dominic Curran (left) and Andy Sutherden on London 2012 PR
Podcast: Dominic Curran (left) and Andy Sutherden on London 2012 PR

In PRWeek’s podcast this week, Andy Sutherden, MD of sports marketing and sponsorship at Hill & Knowlton, said that companies face risks of substantial corporate fines if they fall foul of the law when partaking in ambush marketing.

Describing the strategy as ‘not without risk’, he advised companies hoping to make the most of the ‘tidal wave’ of media coverage in the run up to the Games, to consider hiring a lawyer to advise them of what practices may or may not be legal.

Speaking alongside Sutherden, Dominic Curran, deputy managing director of Synergy, advised that companies should only look to implement such strategies if they can see a gap in the market. ‘You’ve got to find a purpose,’ he said. ‘Don’t do it for the sake of doing it, or you’ll just antagonise people, it’s about finding a white space.’

The two agreed, however, that there is a place for guerrilla campaigns if companies undertake them carefully and intelligently. ‘Even if you don’t have rights but you are doing something that genuinely enhances the enjoyment of the fans around London during the Olympics, then go for it, just don’t break the law,’ Sutherden said.

In 2006 LOCOG successfully passed an act of Parliament to protect the rights of companies which have paid up to £80million to become official sponsors or partners of the Games.

Watch PRWeek's 2012 Olympics podcast

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in