How can I wage war against ambush marketers?

Friday 30th August 2013

Click here for coverage of the article in Retail Week

In less than 12 months’ time the UK will host the start of the Tour de France and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, presenting retailers and retail brands with two powerful awareness raising platforms.

Securing an official association with high profile sporting, musical or theatrical events is very competitive and requires significant investment. And that is why official sponsors fear the unpredictable nature of any ambush marketing activity that competitors may undertake. So what can legitimate sponsors do to protect their position?

Andy Brian, retail expert at law firm Gordons, says: “Specific tactics to combat ambush marketing include negotiating category exclusivity to ensure event organisers will not grant rights to a competitor, even in an unrelated product or service category.

“Sponsors should also have regard to pre-existing deals between competitors and participants, and the practical impact that may have on the event endorsement.

“Likewise, sponsors should consider the scope of any competing deals between the venue or venues in which the event will be held. These may cover naming rights, venue branding and exclusive retail and how that impacts on their own sponsorship.”

Another key area of consideration is TV, online and digital activation. Advertising on these platforms is commonly sold as a package, and a sponsor will therefore need to think carefully about whether a competitor may be able to acquire rights in this way.

Andy concludes: “As an overarching protection sponsors should obtain assurances from event organisers that appropriate intellectual property registrations have been made and that fast, effective action will be taken against anyone implementing any ambush marketing tactics.”

For further information and advice please contact Retail expert Andy Brian.