Glasgow 2014 to clamp down on Commonwealth Games ambush marketing


Officials organising the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow have announced a string of tough measures to “prevent ambush marketing both before and after” the competition.

Glasgow 2014 will be implementing strict measures to “protect the rights of sponsors” as they look to take lessons from the London 2012 Olympics on board.

Ambush marketing is the practice of companies trying to advertise or promote their products at an event they are not sponsoring. It is considered an infringement of the rights of the event’s official partners.

Ambush marketing was reported at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, when 36 Dutch women attended a match wearing t-shirts bearing the logo of a Dutch beer brewer.

Last month, WIPR reported that FIFA, football’s governing body, had taken action against 100 ambush marketers ahead of next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

Last summer’s Olympics, which employed strict measures, was on the whole thought to be relatively incident free.

Organisers for Glasgow 2014 will set out similar measures including banning perpetrators from making subliminal references to the event or related words, clamping down on advertising and trading within a defined radius of venues and teaming up with official sponsors to give them exclusivity on outdoor advertising space.

Glasgow 2014 deputy chief executive Ty Speer, who heads the games’ commercial programme, said: “Glasgow will come alive in a festival of sport and culture next year. The look and feel of the city at games time, particularly close to venues, will be transformed with games branding, messages and colour.

“It is therefore incredibly important for us to keep a consistency across all our sites and to protect the rights of our sponsors, whose support is vital to the success of the games.”

Media companies that have already agreed to use outdoor advertising space, include JCDecaux, CBS Outdoor and Clear Channel.

According to Dan Smith, head of advertising and marketing law at Wragge & Co LLP, the agreement is designed to prevent a repeat of the situation at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics when Nike, a non-sponsor of the games, bought up most of the billboard space in Atlanta, making its brand very visible among spectators.

Smith said that the measures used during the London Olympics were “somewhat effective,” though added sponsors should “remain vigilant,” warning that tougher laws may only serve to spur on ambush marketers.

He said: “If you’re an official sponsor, you should not rely on legislation to give you a completely clear platform for marketing. Historically tougher ambush marketing laws have been the catalyst for inspiring creativity among ambush marketers, as they are obliged to give more thought into how they can succeed.

“My message to the official sponsors would be to not rest on their laurels and to make use of their exclusive access to the organisers to come up with creative and innovative campaigns. Memorable official sponsor advertising is by far the best way to combat the problems of ambush marketing.”

The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow begins on July 23, 2014.

Commonwealth Games, ambush marketing, FIFA, Olympics, Glasgow