Unmasking the Ambushers: Conceptual Framework and Empirical Evidence
European Journal of Marketing Vol. 46 No. 1/2, 2012 pp. 192-214
52 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2013
Date Written: January 17, 2009
Purpose: Sport events organizers have recently undertaken to disclose to the general public instances where firms have conspired to ambush the official sponsors. In doing so, they have sought to sensitise audiences to sponsors’ valuable contribution. However, what is the effect of such disclosure on ambush marketers’ brands? This study aims to answer this question, using an experimental approach.
Design: We conducted two successive experiments. Our first study used a student sample (N=120) and a fictitious brand. Our second study used a before-and-after experiment with control groups (N=480), using four real brands and print disclosure articles. Data was collected from 6 French metropolitan areas and analysed using Repeated Measure ANOVA and MANOVA.
Results: Ambush marketing disclosure is associated with lower attitudes towards the ambusher’s brand. Two variables moderate this effect: involvement in the event and attitude towards sponsorship, both of which worsen the negative influence of ambush disclosure on audiences’ attitudes.
Research Limitations/Implications: While the empirical work reflects one national context and one specific sport event, our findings are the first to empirically support the notion that disclosure of ambush practices adversely impacts ambushers’ brand.
Practical Implications: Our results offer official sponsors and event organisers an effective alternative strategy to legal protection, with demonstrated effects on the core target audience of the event.
Originality/Value: The literature has alluded to possible perverse effects of ambush marketing. This study is the first to draw an analogy with corrective advertising to test and demonstrate the impact of ambush disclosure on ambushers’ brands.
Keywords: ambush marketing, sponsorship, ambush marketing disclosure, corrective advertising
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation