Ambush Marketing Legislation to Protect Olympic Sponsors: A Step Too Far in the Name of Brand Protection?
B. Courtney Doagoo, Mistrale Goudreau, Madelaine Saginur, and Teresa Scassa, eds. Intellectual Property for the 21st Century: Interdisciplinary Approaches. Irwin Law, 2014.
21 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2015 Last revised: 9 Oct 2015
Date Written: October 1, 2014
Ambush marketing and its possible threat to brand equity has been identified as a key concern for mega sport event organisations and their sponsors. In recent years, international sport federations have sought to leverage the enormous interest in hosting their events in order to make anti-ambush marketing legislation a requirement for a successful bid. While sponsors may applaud such added protection, there are potentially a number of negative impacts that deserve consideration when discussing ambush marketing legislation.
In this paper, we examine the growing trend for mega sporting event organizers to insist upon the enactment of legislation to protect against ambush marketing. Using the Olympic Games as a model, we provide a brief overview of the Olympic brand, Olympic sponsorship and the brand management/protection strategies developed by the IOC. Our study pays particular attention to the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and to the legislation enacted by the Canadian government to protect the Olympic and Paralympic brands. We examine some of the issues that arose in relation to the Vancouver Games, and discuss the impact of the growing use of anti-ambush legislation as the ultimate weapon to protect sponsors. While more research is needed to assess fully the impact of such legislation on various stakeholders, there are signs that perhaps it can do more harm than good.
Keywords: Ambush marketing, olympics, sponsorship, intellectual property
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