The World Cup, Ambush Marketing and Marketing for Small Businesses

The World Cup is currently in full swing, and taking a walk down my local high street, I can see a number of businesses who are using the event to promote their products and services. However, none of them are using the official logo or phrases such as ‘Brazil 2014′. Why? Because they aren’t official sponsors of the event, and Brazilian copyright and intellectual property laws stop them from doing so. No-one wants to find themselves with a fine or worse because they’ve mis-used branding which only the official sponsors are entitled to use.

However, there are ways in which small businesses can get involved with events like the World Cup. Publicly showing support for your country’s team, images of footballs and other football paraphernalia are all perfectly acceptable and will show your business’ enthusiasm for this great sporting event.

Some brands and larger companies will use ‘ambush marketing’ to associate themselves with an event such as the World Cup without paying any sponsorship fees. You can find lots of great examples of this online, with one of my own favourites being the 36 very pretty ladies attending a match between the Netherlands and Denmark at the 2010 World Cup, all wearing short orange skirts sponsored by Dutch beer brewers Bavaria. The resulting furore got Bavaria a huge amount of promotion, much to the annoyance of official sponsors, Heineken.

Dutch beer brewers Bavaria get into trouble at the 2010 World Cup. Thanks to Getty Images.
Dutch beer brewers Bavaria get into trouble at the 2010 World Cup. Thanks to Getty Images.

Whilst this type of approach is not recommended for small businesses, it is always worth thinking about ways in which your business can use major events to capture the imagination and interest of its customers to generate business and raise profile.

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Published by

nicolaoloughlin

Chartered Marketer based in Bedford, UK.

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