The Arsenal/Denmark Center Forward pulled an atrocious stunt after he pulled his pants a little lower than publicly advisable to show the name of a popular betting website. Given the stage he was at (the EURO 2012), the moment in time (right after his goal) and the obvious rarity of that occasion lead to quite a few raised eyebrows. He has since denied a direct link but these are times when the accused is guilty until proven innocent.
Ambush marketing, which is the term for the act, is the strategy of associating with a brand/event/activity without fulfilling the monetary requirements to do the same, which in English, means not paying a penny.
Football being football, the Beautiful Game attracts the most number of eyeballs across the world and automatically opens its doors for below-the-belt shots by companies desirous of capitalizing on the tremendous opportunity without coughing up the required monies. Here are a few instances where the marketers decided to spring a surprise.
- The 1998 FIFA World Cup saw Nike stepping in to sponsor quite a few teams in spite of ADIDAS being the title sponsor.
- The 2006 FIFA World Cup had Budweiser as its official beer sponsor, and this lead to the Dutch fans being asked to get rid of their ‘Leeuwenhosen’ which are essentially orange colored, lion tailed overalls which were distributed by the Bavaria Brewery.
- The 2010 FIFA World Cup saw the same apparel by the Bavaria Brewery being distributed but completely unbranded. Even that didn’t go down well with the authorities and the same dragon reared its head again. 2 women were arrested and 36 ejected after they were found in the said apparel. A direct link was established between the dress and the firm after Sylvie Van der Vaart, Rafael Van der Vaart’s wife, had modeled for the Bavaria Brewery in them. The Oranje supporters finally had to trade their clothes for shorts and the sponsors were pacified.
- The 2010 FIFA World Cup was a hotspot for the tactical geniuses of marketing, and this was corroborated by Kulula, a South African budget airlines. Their ad claimed the airline to be the ‘Unofficial Carrier of the You-Know-What’. Voldemort it didn’t refer to and FIFA was quick to react. But the firm was in line with the ads and stuck to a safe distance to prosper with their cunning strategy.
Given the obnoxious amounts commanded for association with such premier events, who can blame such companies for coming up with such unique-bordering-on-the-genius solutions. But some do take it just too far and the law will need to step in to keep them off the grass. No matter how these firms tackle the problem, Bendtner’s underwear strap is certainly not the optimum advertising landscape for your brand.