Ambush marketing in the virtual space
This is what happened.
38 women dressed as Danish fans went to the game and then at half time stripped off and revealed orange mini dresses (the same colour as the Dutch national team). Because the women were of the super model variety they attracted so much attention that they were approached by the FIFA officials and accused of ambush marketing for a Dutch beer company who were not official sponsors.
The women were not branded in anyway, other than a small (tiny) logo on the side of the dress. The beer company had however paid for the 38 women to travel to South Africa for the stunt, so they were guilty but I’m not sure what they were guilt of.
- If I go to game wearing a Pepsi tee-shirt (Coke is the sponsor) will they deny my entry? What happens if me and 20 friends happen to be wearing Pepsi tee-shirts.
- If we were wearing black jeans and a white top will we be guilty of ambush marketing for Guinness?
The whole ambush marketing thing is interesting, what happens if I go to the World Cup and use a product like TagDis and leave a graffiti tag to say ‘Drink Pepsi’ rather than Coke. The tag is left in virtual space but who controls that, who would even know? In the future will we see teams of branding police patrolling venues with mobile devices looking for virtual tags and advertising? Perhaps they already are.
Shortly after the incident a Layar developer created a layer placing an orange dress girl back at the stadium, however I’m unable to find the layer so can only assume that Fifa’s mighty reach stretched as far as Amsterdam and the layer has since been removed. Are we really living in a world where advertisers are so powerful they control the reality as well as the virtual space around us.
No doubt sporting events bring in huge amounts of advertising revenue so it will be interesting for events like the Olympic games and how they try to prevent ambush marketing in the virtual space.