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2012 Organisers Prepare To Combat Ambush Marketing

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Ambush marketing has long been the enemy of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the official sponsors of the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

The act of ambush marketing is described by blogger, SimonGeorge, as a company “associating itself with another event/brand without entering into an official sponsorship agreement.” It has often been very difficult to regulate attempts to exploit loopholes that have been exposed by savvy marketing campaigners.

For instance, in 2000, Quantas Airline adopted the slogan ‘The Spirit of Australia’, which bore a striking resemblance to the Sydney Games’ own slogan of ‘Share the Spirit’, even though Ansett Air had been the official sponsor of the Games.

At Beijing 2008, Chinese gymnast Li Ning was presented with a free advertising opportunity when he lit the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony. As the creator of the famous Chinese sportswear shoe company, Li-Ning, the mention of his name alone was more than enough to compensate for the irony of performing the feat while wearing full Adidas regalia.

But the IOC has begun to take firmer action to combat this trend, starting with last month’s Vancouver Games. Official legislation has now been stipulated to marketing companies and advertisers, providing strict guidelines and boundaries to adhere to, with very little room for manoeuvre.

It is a stance that will continue to toughen in 2012 according to David Bond, an expert on copyright at law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse. In an interview with BBC Business reporter, Bill Wilson, he says:

I think it’s a trend that is only going to increase in terms of protection of the Olympics at least.

“I think Vancouver have been more strict than Beijing, which was itself more strict than at any time before.”

He adds: “One of the terms of winning the Olympics is putting in place a plan to combat ambush marketing.

“One of the things London looked at was what it could do to protect the revenue routes through sponsorship, should it win the games.

“And the UK decided it would take all necessary action to protect sponsors, and would draw up conditions to stop ambush marketing.”

So for the benefit of budding marketers who wish to begin formulating a strategy for a successful ambush of the London 2012 Games, here are the basic rules of war (as stated by the ‘London Olympic Association Right’).

1) Slogans, branding and merchandise must use no more than one word from the restricted words highlighted in list ‘A’.

2) Slogans, branding and merchandise containing a word from list ‘A’ cannot be used in conjunction with any words from list ‘B’.

And here is the carefully constructed list of words:

Restricted London 2012 words

A List


Two Thousand and Twelve


Twenty Twelve

B List







Of course, if you should compose a market-winning slogan using this formula, please feel free to contact blur Marketing


  1. [...] the battle between football’s world governing body, FIFA and the potential threat from ambush marketing campaigns promises to provide an entertaining sideshow to the quadrennial showpiece [...]

    Pingback by FIFA Declares War Against World Cup Ambush Marketing « blur Marketing — March 29, 2010 @ 11:13 am

  2. Hey…..nice post!!

    Awesome, No more words to explain :) :) :D just….cool blog.

    Comment by Internet Marketing Work — May 19, 2010 @ 8:22 pm

  3. [...] impossible piece of Brazilian magic? Nope. In the modern era it’s the lingering threat from ambush marketers that really spurs FIFA into action- particularly when 36 Dutchwomen wearing orange mini-dresses [...]

    Pingback by blur Marketing » Blog Archive » The Future’s Bright- But Not For World Cup Ambush Marketing — June 18, 2010 @ 12:16 pm