What is ambush marketing?


Dutch Ambush MarketingRecent events at the South African World Cup where 36 young women entered the Soccer City Stadium for the Netherlands versus Denmark game dressed in Orange mini skirts and tops has brought the so called ‘ambush marketing’ technique into the public focus. The orange colour is closely associated with a well-known Dutch brewery, the sticking image clearly attracted a great deal of media coverage during the game giving the company a huge amount of free publicity.

What is ambush marketing?

Ambush marketing is when one company officially sponsors an activity, such as the world cup and another company (often a competitor) attempts to highjack the sponsorship opportunity through subversive or disruptive tactics.

Is ambush marketing new?

Ambush marketing has been used for many years but has become a critical issue with the substantial costs connected with global sponsorship deals. In many cases smaller companies have considered using ambush-marketing tactics against bigger competition where they cannot compete with the financial sponsorship capabilities of their rivals.

Why does ambush marketing work?

Ambush marketing works because of the wider public interest that is created, not only does the marketing campaign highjack the event at critical moments such as an awards or medal ceremony (where maximum viewing potential is achieved) but also the controversy created a great deal of free publicity.

What are the wider implications of ambush marketing?

With the increased investment cost of sponsorship many companies are beginning to take a tougher line with rivals using ambush-marketing tactics. There is a growing appetitive for litigation following ambush-marketing campaigns that can prove to be costly and protracted.


Ambush marketing can be highly effective, however any company considering the use of such tactics should carefully think through the wider implications verses the benefits that will be achieved.

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