Effective ambush marketing ideas must be unexpected.
According to the website Brand Channel, ambush marketing ideas are generally used to capture attention from a competitor that has paid for association with an event. As such, ambush marketing ideas have no contractual limitations and can be highly effective, as long as the marketer understands and appeals to the interests of his audience.
Some of the best ambush marketing ideas come from creative use of language. For example, when a marketer cannot formally use the name of an event where it is marketing because of contractual stipulations, cleverly turning that hindrance into an advantage can lead to an effective ambush marketing presence. According to Brand Channel, the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City saw successful ambush marketing ideas by Schirf, a local brewery. Barred from advertising at the event or using any references to the terms “Olympics” due to the Games’ sponsorship with Anheuser-Busch, it instead marketed itself as the “The Unofficial Beer” and used the term “Games” instead of “Olympics” on delivery trucks which were present throughout the vicinity of the Olympics on their standard delivery rounds. This approach allowed for a clear brand presence, without the financial obligation of a formal sponsorship.
Ambush marketing ideas often can be carried out with relevant promotional items that consumers will actively use at a given event, to essentially create the “buzz” for your brand as they are in use. Brand Channel reports that in 1996, Nike was not a sponsor of the Atlanta Olympic Games, but was able to create the impression that it was by distributing branded “swoosh” banners for fans to wave while at the Games. Nike’s logo is called a “swoosh.”
Effective ambush marketing ideas also can be based on standard product samples that are presented in a clever way to both generate interest and detract from the presence of the competitor. Procter & Gamble created a buzz for its Pringles brand at the 2009 Wimbledon tennis tournament, an event where non-sponsor products are not allowed within the venue. Its ambush marketing idea solved the problem by distributing 24,000 Pringles cans outside the stadium in packaging that resembled tennis ball cans, but marked “These are not tennis balls” to make a noticeable presence at the tournament.