FIFA’s Advertising By-laws:

FIFA set out by-laws to prevent ambush marketing. These fall under Chapter 2 of the by-laws for the Principal Provisions for Advertising (FIFA By-Laws 2010). It contains prohibitions that restrict companies from ambush marketing and protects its official sponsors. These By-laws are restricting, some examples are:

“No Person shall, except with the prior Approval of the Municipality granted specifically with regard to the Competition, conduct any Advertising activity on any Public Advertising Media during the Term in the following areas, including on private property falling therein: at any Controlled Access Site, or within a one kilometre radius of a Stadium or as demarcated by the Municipality; within a 100 (one hundred) meter radius of a FIFA Fan Park or as demarcated by the Municipality;  at any place visible from the principal public road(s), as designated by the Municipality by means of appropriate signage, leading to the venue of a Stadium and  within two kilometers from the perimeter of a Stadium, as the case may be or as demarcated by the Municipality; and at any other area designated and/or gazetted by the Municipality. No Person shall, except with the prior Approval of the Municipality granted specifically with regard to the Competition, and to the extent applicable and within the Municipality’s jurisdiction, conduct any Advertising activity on any Public Advertising Media during the Term, in the following areas –immediately outside or surrounding airports; in or immediately outside or surrounding main train stations;  within a kilometre radius of the central business district of the area of jurisdiction of the Municipality or as demarcated by the Municipality; and to the extent the Municipality has jurisdiction, on the principal routes from the airport and main train stations to the central business district of the area of jurisdiction of the Municipality and to the Stadium. No Person shall, during the Term erect, maintain, distribute or display a Sign or a Billboard at a Controlled Access Site or within an Exclusion Zone, without the prior written Approval of the Municipality granted specifically with regard to the Competition.” 3FIFA also holds the rights to free billboard advertising on all public billboards within five kilometres of the stadiums in host cities across South Africa, for at least six months prior to the World Cup. FIFA also put into place pre-game preparations; they put an extensive trademark registration program into place covering trademarks such as ‘South Africa 2010TM, World Cup 2010TM, Durban 2010, 2010, soccer signs and symbols.4

*Buzz Marketing and Word-Of-Mouth Marketing are marketing terms used to describe a marketing technique where the consumers actually do your marketing for you, where they talk and discuss your brand due to the impact or publicity it made. This form of advertising is cost free to a company and has a much higher impact rate as consumer/people trust people over brands. Thus if Joe Soap hears a product is good or trendy from his friend, college, neighbour etc he is more likely to trust their opinion than if it is communicated across via an advert.

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Campaigns to create brand awareness:

When faced with restrictions by consumers who have a zero tolerance to advertising, other means of creating brand awareness need to be utilised to get your message across to your target audience.

Ambush marketing is an alternative to formal sponsorship and is used by companies that either do not have the funds to be an official sponsor or who could not become one as there is only one official sponsor in each product category. Ambush marketing is an attempt by a company or brand to associate itself with an event or sponsored activity without gaining formal rights to do so.2 FIFA has put into place harsh by-laws to protect its official sponsors from ambush marketing. Yet there is a debate on whether ambush marketing results in a weakening of the impact of an official sponsor’s marketing activities or that ambush marketing is a creative and strategic marketing tactic to try capitalise on a mega event, such as the FIFA World Cup 2010.

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To enable your brand to stand out from competitors and to break through the advertising clutter an Ambush marketing campaign might do just that.

Ambush marketing is when a brand that is not an official sponsor of a specific event, such as the FIFA World Cup 2010 or any other sporting tournament or music festival, carries out marketing activities in an attempt to create an association with that specific event and/or to take advantage of the status or image of the event, without being an official sponsor and thus without paying a sponsorship fee to do so, or without the event owner’s permission.

Event owners or corporate bodies of these mega events such as FIFA, react aggressively to ambush marketing. As they need to protect the value of their own commercial rights in the event, and to protect their official sponsors who pay millions to be a sponsor, especially if the official sponsor is a direct competitor to the advertiser (unofficial sponsor brand).  Official sponsors pay a large sum for the exclusive rights to be officially associated with the event thus any brand that tries to link itself to the event needs to be punished in the eye of the event owner.
Why can ambush marketing be unlawful?


Ambush marketing can infringe the event owner’s trade marks, copyright and other intellectual property rights in relation to the event. This is unlawful and can give the event owner grounds to sue the advertiser, which was evident in the Soccer World Cup Event 2010.
In some countries, creating a false or misleading association with an event can also constitute unlawful or unfair competition and/or it can breach advertising regulations. For example FIFA insisted that South Africa had to put advertising by-laws into place if they wished to host the World Cup 2010 in their country and as it was such an honour to host such an event South Africa obliged with open arms, yet the logic is changing your constitution to suit a corporate body like FIFA is quite a leap considering our country which has more important things to concentrate on than advertising by-laws and suppression of local brand who do not have the finances to be an official sponsor in comparison to the international mega brands.
Therefore it is becoming increasingly common for special laws to be introduced in countries where major events are being held, which give event owners additional protection by making it unlawful to carry out certain ambush marketing activities which would otherwise be permitted under the general law. Sometimes, these laws can even make ambush marketing a criminal offence.1