Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Ambush marketing and the Olympics

The Olympics is finally over and sports fans around the world can stop trying to set records for TV watching. But while most people were happy to doze, waiting for the ladies’ beach volleyball or similarly riveting viewing, IP litigators were focussing not on the on-screen sport but on the crowds, watching for the flash of an orange skirt or the glimpse of a Nike swoosh. Sadly, one of the most unsporting of ambush marketing attempts took place out of public view, in the athletes’ Olympic village. The Guardian reports here that an athlete posted a photo of a bucket full of condoms ‘which featured a sign reading "Kangaroos condoms, for the gland downunder", and a picture of a boxing kangaroo’. Unfortunately, the Guardian continues, ‘the London Olympic organisers provided 150,000 free condoms in dispensers for the 10,800 athletes at the Games, supplied by Durex which paid for the supply rights’ and so these additional supplies were not welcome.
As the author of a recent publication on ambush marketing put it, it was fortunate that the London Olympic Games Organising Committee had to deal with the problem, and that it did not happen during the Vancouver Winter Olympics, when the Canadian Organising Committee would have been tasked with the matter.
And the best that South Africa could produce in the ambush marketing stakes was some lollipops and orange miniskirts!

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