Ambush Marketing: It’s all about perspective

October 5, 2010

Commercial, regulation, Uncategorized

The CMO Council just published an article Kris and I wrote entitled, ‘Ambush Marketing: It’s all about perspective’ in its Doing Away With Foul Play Report. Here are a few excerpts:


How one sees ambush marketing depends upon the eyes of the beholder. Much like the famous perception test designed by Harvard psychologist Edwin Boring where some viewers see a young woman while others see an old woman, how ambush marketing is viewed depends upon what side of the fence you sit. Some marketers may view it as illegal and unethical, while others see it as a necessary and sufficient practice in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

How marketers and lawyers view ambush marketing is ultimately a matter of perspective. Marketers see opportunity and seek to exploit it, to get as close as possible to the line without crossing it. Lawyers, in turn, are on the lookout for marketing campaigns that get too close to the line. It is the duty of inhouse lawyers to rein in their marketers when they get too close for comfort, and it is the corresponding responsibility of Crown counsel and lawyers for the competition to detect when the ambush marketer crosses the line and is in breach of the law.

Given the complex relationship between marketing and the law, as well as some companies’ preparedness to capitalize upon unauthorized associations with mega-events, it should come as no surprise that some of the world’s largest companies – including Puma, Kodak and Pepsi – have been both on the giving and receiving end of an ambush.


The full article is here

The link to the full report is

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One Comment on “Ambush Marketing: It’s all about perspective”

  1. Carina Says:

    ambush – a very serious but also very interesting issue. the innovative and creative minds of the marketing people are suprising me again and again. however i think it would also be interesting to include the “use” of athletes in those discussions about ambush activities. just as an example: usain bolt who took off his golden running shoes (Puma!) after his historic victories at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, holding them up for the crowd and right into the cameras. that was for sure a priceless marketing coup for Puma without being a sponsor of the olympics and nobody seemed to have tried stopping bolt and his ambush activities. probably nobody dared to interfere in this glory moment. incredible how many “ambush opportunities” he was given without anyone doing anything against it(photo with the shoe in his hands in front of the score board which displayed his new world record; holding up both shoes into the cameras; holding up one shoe together with the jamaican flag; probably etc etc).


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