Ambush Marketing Legislation to Protect Olympic Sponsors
A Step Too Far in the Name of Brand Protection?
Ambush marketing and its threat to brand equity have been identified as key concerns for mega sport event organizations and their sponsors. In recent years, international sport federations have sought to leverage the enormous interest in hosting their events in order to make anti-ambush marketing legislation a requirement for a successful bid. While sponsors may applaud such added protection, there are potentially a number of negative impacts that deserve consideration when discussing ambush marketing legislation.
In this chapter, the authors examine the growing trend towards anti-ambush marketing legislation. Using the Olympic Games as a model, the authors provide a brief overview of the Olympic brand, Olympic sponsorship, and the brand management/protection strategies developed by the International Olympic Committee. Particular attention is paid to the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and to the legislation enacted by the Canadian government to protect the Olympic and Paralympic brands. The authors examine some of the issues that arose around the Vancouver Games, and discuss the impact of the growing use of anti-ambush legislation as the ultimate weapon to protect sponsors. While more research is needed to assess fully the impact of such legislation on various stakeholders, there are signs that it may do more harm than good.
Benoît Séguin is a professor of sport management (School of Human Kinetics) at the University of Ottawa. He specializes in sport marketing. His doctoral research examined the issue of ambush marketing and its impact on the Olympic brand. Dr. Séguin’s research on sponsorship, ambush marketing, and Olympic Marketing has been published in a variety of international journals including the International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, the International Journal of Sport Marketing and Sponsorship, Sport Marketing Quarterly, and Journal of Sport Management. He recently co-authored a book titled Olympic Marketing with Professors Alain Ferrand (France) and Jean-Loup Chappelet (Switzerland).
Dr Séguin is a regular speaker at international conferences and workshops. He is a regular supervising Professor at the International Olympic Academy (Olympic marketing and sponsoring), at the Russian International Olympic University (Business of Sport and the Olympics), and with the Executive Masters in Sport Organizations Management (MEMOS), an international program supported by Olympic Solidarity.