Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Should Marketers Be Held Personally Liable for Ambush Marketing?

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Should Marketers Be Held Personally Liable for Ambush Marketing?

Article excerpt

A proposed amendment to the Olympics Act 2006 would leave senior marketers at risk of gaining a criminal conviction if ambush activity for their brand takes place around the London 2012 Games.

MAYBE - JEMIMA BIRD, MARKETING DIRECTOR, TRAGUS GROUP

Marketers are here to build and protect brands; to this end, I can understand why big sporting events want to protect the integrity of their brand by associating with 'like' brands.

All very nice in theory and an MBA textbook, but in real terms, big events don't choose the 'best', 'interesting' and most 'applicable' brands, they choose the ones that provide the most cash.

On this basis, marketing directors are always going to be looking for interesting ways of creating noise where they can't afford or don't want to pay the inflated premiums of such events. Does this take away from the integrity of the occasion? Probably not. It adds humour in the best instances, the official brands still get their multi-zillion-dollar above-the-line exposure, and everyone's a winner as a result. Protecting brands? Yes, hold the poor browbeaten marketing director accountable Strangling creativity and fun? Not for me, thanks.

YES - HUGH ROBERTSON, FOUNDER PARTNER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, RPM

No debate. Marketing directors have to be accountable for their agencies and the work they have commissioned. They simply cannot afford not to be transparent and authentic, especially with legislation passed to ensure that official London 2012 sponsors are fiercely protected, and those looking to cash in on it prosecuted.

Yes, it's a challenge in this real-time, digital world to define what has been sanctioned officially and what hasn't, hence definitions of 'indirect' and 'incidental' ambush marketing. That's why brand guidelines must be adhered to throughout all campaign activity.

It's much more than just individual brands - it's about accountability and responsibility, which, as marketers, we all have to our stakeholders. Furthermore, it's about our industry following best practice and governance in our approach, having respect for each other and recognising that, with the spotlight on London and the UK, more than ever, we have a duty to showcase the very best of our industry - not the worst. …

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