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Ambush Marketing At London 2012

By Lesa Ukman Aug 13, 2012

Ambush Marketing At London 2012

Non-sponsors during the Olympic Games got noticed through a variety of tactics, including making news around related topics (Nike, Specsavers, Tetley Tea), championing human-interest stories (Red Bull, Virgin Media, Beats), sponsored Tweets (Nike), and pop-up venues in London (Puma, Mizuno, Karl Lagerfeld, Opening Ceremony).

Note: Executions of all of these can be seen on my Ambush Marketing board on Pinterest.

  • Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign showcases “everyday” athletes finding their greatness in Londons of South Africa, Jamaica, Nigeria, the U.S., etc. Nike’s video shorts—which have overtaken “Take the Stage” videos by official sponsor Adidas—allude to the Olympics but don’t name them. The buzz-stealing approach is similar to Nike’s “Write the Future” during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where it also bested Adidas’ official sponsorship.   
  • In response to a snafu when the South Korean flag was displayed at a football match between Colombia and North Korea, an eyeglass retailer ran an ad the next morning showing the correct flag under its well-known tag line: “Should’ve gone to Specsavers.”
  • Tetley Tea launched a social media campaign on Twitter in support of TeaGB. Posts turn actual Olympic events into tea and cake-themed competitions such as the Ar-cherry event. Fans choose nominees and vote on the winners.
  • Red Bull has no official Olympic tie but has managed to form an association by creatively working on the fringe. For example, it produced a documentary around its support of Australian pole-vaulter Steve Hooker’s Olympic bid. Similarly, at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics the brand launched Red Bull Project X for snowboarder Shaun White.
  • Virgin Media increased ad spending in the weeks leading up to the Games, with investment in TV and print ads up 37 percent, from about £9 million to more than £14 million, according to Marketing. The rival of tier-one partner BT has run several executions featuring celebrities such as Usain Bolt in its “Keep Up” campaign.
  • Beats by Dre outfoxed brand police and delivered Union Jack-branded headphones to Team GB athletes. Diver Tom Daley was seen wearing Beats on the BBC ahead of his diving event, while footballer Jack Butland tweeted: "Loving my new GB Beats by Dre #TeamGB #Beats."
  • Nike, which sponsors all but one of the players on the USA men’s basketball team, includes spontaneous real-time comments about the game in its promoted tweets.
  • Puma brought an array of musical talent to the London, hosted in its “Puma Yard” venue in Brick Lane, East London. The site hosted sets from Professor Green and Groove Armada and includes an indoor social club, food stalls serving Jamaican cuisine, and a “beach” bar.
  • Mizuno opened the pop-up Mizuno Performance Centre in London, with skills competitions in Olympic sports and live video streaming of the Games.
  • Karl Lagerfeld promotes his Olympic collection

    Karl Lagerfeld promotes his Olympic collection

    Karl Lagerfeld launched an Olympic collection at a Selfridges pop-up store in London (Next is the official Olympic retailer).
 
  • Adidas Originals X Opening Ceremony

    Adidas Originals X Opening Ceremony

    Cult retailer, Opening Ceremony, launched an Olympic capsule collection with Adidas, and opened a London pop-up shop with a line of designer exclusives.
 

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Lesa Ukman

About the Author

Lesa Ukman is the founder and chief insights officer of IEG. With the launch of IEG Sponsorship Report in 1982, she created a publication that defined an industry now worth more than $53 billion. She continues to define new and better ways for companies to get closer to their customers through sponsorship, including her current pioneering work developing the new industry standard for measuring the results of sponsorship, offered through IEG’s ROI Services. Follow Lesa on Twitter!

 

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