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SBD Global/July 26, 2012/Olympics
Nike Olympic Ad Campaign Sidesteps Claims Of Ambush Marketing
Published July 26, 2012
PADDY PUSHBACK: Also in London, Mark Sweney noted Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is seeking a court order against the organisers of the London Games "in a bid to stop a billboard ad campaign from being taken down." The company is being accused of "breaching strict rules on ambush marketing" of the Games as a brand that is not an official sponsor. Paddy Power instructed London law firm Charles Russell to "seek an order at the High Court to try to stop" LOCOG from removing the ads. The "cheeky ads" proclaim Paddy Power as the "official sponsor of the largest athletics event in London this year! There you go, we said it." The ad then goes on to add that they are actually sponsoring an egg and spoon race that will be held in the town of London in France. None of the Olympic sponsors are betting companies and LOCOG and the IOC have "strict rules on betting being linked to the Games" (GUARDIAN, 7/25). A LOCOG spokesperson said, "We can take a joke, but as you would expect we had to draw the line at the provocative references to LOCOG. We also have a responsibility to ensure that no one thinks betting companies have any sort of official connection to London 2012." In relation to the court order, the spokesperson added: "We have not seen any papers yet and will reserve comment until we do" (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 7/25). MARKETING WEEK's Sebastian Joseph noted that under the 2006 London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act, LOCOG has the "power to prevent unauthorised associations with the sporting event." It also lists words that cannot be used in combination by non-sponsors. The advertisements, which are part of Paddy Power's "We Hear You" campaign, are the "latest in a string of controversial stunts." Last month, it "ambushed the European Championship" when Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner revealed a pair of Paddy Power branded underpants when he scored (MARKETING WEEK, 7/25). A Paddy Power spokesperson said of LOCOG, "It's a pity they didn't put the same energy in to the ticketing and security arrangements for the Games that they put into protecting their sponsorship revenue streams" (London TELEGRAPH, 7/25).