Nandos Tongue In Cheek Adverts

Nandos and their tongue in cheek adverts were very successful. Their traditional approach to breaking through the advertising clutter worked wonders during the period of the Soccer World Cup 2010. They were strategic and creative in their approach which enabled the brand to stand out from all the other brands during this time period. Therefore for an unofficial sponsor of the World Cup 2010 there were other successful ways to work around FIFA’s strict by-laws, Nandos kept to their traditional advertising methods and used humor and media (current newsworthy events) to their advantage which got consumers talking about the brand.

Click on the link below to view one of their T.V adverts:

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Bavaria Stunt:

The Dutch brewery, Bavaria gained a great amount of brand awareness through exposure of their brand through a publicity campaign which was generated through their ambush marketing stunt. Bavaria created a stir when they organised a publicity stunt at the Holland VS Denmark match hosted in Durban at the Moses Mabhida Stadium during the World Cup 2010, which involved a group of girls wearing orange mini dresses which revealed a very tiny branded label on the bottom of the dresses, only visible to those who paid very close attention.

Bavaria’s ambush marketing stunt, as FIFA called it, created brand awareness worth a value of R 756, 728 through free publicity generated in South African newspaper and broadcast news coverage. This value is only a portion of it, Bavaria gained a total value worth R1 million in local coverage yet their main publicity value was generated from the publicity they received back home in Holland and internationally.  This publicity campaign was a great success as it played on the audience’s emotions as it created a ‘good guy’, ‘bad guy’ personification and this became the instant news which followed by extensive media coverage.

The media blatantly positioned the Dutch Brewery and the beautiful women wearing the bright orange mini dresses as the victims of the story and FIFA as the evil villain. Whether or not Bavaria planned the ambush stunt or not is irrelevant. It is obvious that the public would be drawn to read an article where 30 gorgeous woman, dressed in the same orange mini-skirts to attend the Netherlands and Denmark soccer match on the 14th June during the Soccer World Cup 2010 hosted at Soccer City. The women were taken in for questioning and eventually two of them (Barbara Castelein and MirteNieuwpoort), whom Fifa accused of being the organisers of the campaign, were threatened with prosecution for a criminal offence and arrested. They faced charges of contravening the SA Merchandise Marks Act because Bavaria was not an official World Cup sponsor. FIFA took this seriously as they were trying to protect their main official sponsor Budweiser, as Bavaria is a direct competitor in the beer beverage industry. Yet the legal stir created by FIFA played straight into Bavaria’s hands as the free and extensive publicity generated from the stunt was worth the R10 000 bail fees and are simple the fee’s paid to gain brand awareness around a mega sports event as the target audience who follows this event is huge.

The Charges against the girls were dropped after Bavaria reportedly agreed not to embark on any ambush marketing for the next 12 years and “to respect the integrity of Fifa’s commercial programme”.1

It is probable that similar legislation will be introduced in respect of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and potentially also for other forthcoming major sporting events. For example, New Zealand has passed new laws against ambush marketing at major events such as the 2011 Rugby World Cup and 2015 Cricket World Cup.2

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.

Guidelines to follow when considering an Ambush marketing campaign:

  1. Never use any actual names, logos, slogans or branding of events, or any graphics, symbols or signage that might be confusingly similar to the sponsors or event owners.
  2. Try to avoid the use of any pictures, words or symbols that are clearly suggestive of an event or which are intended to refer to it. (during the World Cup 2010, a low budget airline; Kulula got asked by FIFA to pull their advert which featured soccer symbols, a soccer player, flags etc )
  3. Do not create an advert which refers to an event such as the World Cup 2010, but which uses the event in a negative light to promote your products or services. For example sending an email to consumers which reviews South Africa’s World Cup 2010 hosted by FIFA, and then goes on to suggest that readers can get away from all the ‘madness’ with a discounted holiday special using the ‘attached voucher’.
  4. Do not run competitions or promotions that give away tickets to the hosted event as prizes, only unless you have the event owner’s (e.g.: FIFA’s ) permission to do so as this straight away links your brand to the event.
  5. Never use the hosted event’s branding and/or names, logos etc on your product’s packaging if you are not an official sponsor, partner, supporter etc.
  6. Do not use the words ‘Sponsor’, ‘Partner’ or ‘Supporter’ in your marketing campaign in relation to an event, unless you have been granted the rights by the event’s corporate body to do so.

If you follow these guidelines your ambush marketing should be safe from legal penalties, yet if you are unsure rather seek legal advice before the campaign is launched yet some might say that the legal fine for participating in ambush marketing is simply the fee paid to advertise with a mega event and draw publicity as it is a small fee in comparison to buying the rights to become an official sponsor. To gain brand awareness and have a successful ‘ambush’ marketing campaign ad agencies and marketing teams need to be innovative and creative in their approach to their campaigns as the results of a successful campaign are: brand awareness, breaking through the clutter of other advertising messages, ‘link/ties’ to a mega event in the consumers mind without having to pay the heavy fee of being an official sponsor as the line between being an official and unofficial sponsor in the consumers mind is blurred if your advertising approach is right. Another advantage is gaining publicity, Buzz marketing or Word-of-mouth marketing*, exposure and gaining a competitive advantage over your competitors. “Only imagination ultimately limits the possibilities for ambushing, making it difficult for event owners and corporate sponsors to protect themselves from hostile competitive activity”. 2

Ambush strategies or methods that can be used by a company: 5

1) Sponsoring media coverage of the event

2) Sponsoring a subcategory of the event and aggressively supporting that investment

3) Purchasing advertising around the event that may take two distinct forms:

a) Themed advertising or

b) Traditional advertising around the event

4) Sponsoring contributions to the player bonus pools

5) Creating special opportunities, such as giving away licensed souvenirs or trips to the event’s host country, running congratulatory ads, or creating imaginative tie-ins.

As more ambush marketing has occurred over the years and with sponsors paying a large fee for their sponsorship right attitudes to ambush marketing have become more harsh.2 Ambush marketing has been defined as:

“The unauthorised association by businesses with an event through any one or more of a wide range of marketing activities. It is a company’s intentional efforts to weaken, or ambush, its competitor’s “official” sponsorship. It does this by engaging in promotions or advertising that trade off the event or property’s goodwill and reputation, and that seeks to confuse the buying public as to which company really holds official sponsorship rights”. 2

Yet there is a growing understanding that ambush marketing is not an ad hoc activity, but a well planned creative and innovative effort to expose the companies brand and to link the brand to the event and thus gain the benefits associated with being a ‘sponsor’ or weaken the impact of a main competitor who is an official sponsor. Some see it as “neutralising the competitive advantage by confusing the consumer as to who the legitimate sponsor of an event is…There is a weak minded view that competitors have a moral obligation to step back and allow an official sponsor to reap all the benefits from a special event . . . (competitors have) not only a right but an obligation to shareholders to take advantage of such events”.2

Ambush Marketing that took place during the World Cup 2010:

  1. Nike on Adidas
  2. Pepsi on Coca Cola
  3. Bavaria on Budweiser
  4. Kulula on Emirates Airline
  5. Coo-ee on Coca Cola

Strategic Advertising Campaigns: (That reaped the capital rewards from their successful campaigns)


  1. SAB (VS Budweiser)
  2. Nando’s (VS Mac Donalds)
  3. Jockey
  4. FNB
  5. Sibaya


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




Kulula World Cup Campaign

Ad campaigns of un-official sponsors of the 2010 World Cup…lucky strike or off sides? FIFA’s referees were trained to determine who got accused of ambush marketing and who weren’t. Some were lucky and creatively by by-passed FIFA’s by-laws while others were off sides and gave the opposition a penalty kick…FIFA reap in the rewards through their legal law suits.

When un-official sponsors of the World Cup 2010 created marketing campaigns around the South Africa soccer theme some were successful and bypassed the by-laws set by FIFA and some got a red card slapped in their face.

When it comes to ambush marketing why were some companies accused while others weren’t. There is some controversy around this topic. When Kulula (British Airways Cheap and Affordable Airline) created an ad campaign with the title “The Un-official National Carrier of the You-know-What” FIFA slapped them with a red card, a legal note stating that they were participating in ambush marketing as the advert featured soccer-related drawings such as a soccer player, the Cape Town stadium, soccer balls and the South African flag.

The majority of the public saw FIFA’s fury from one angle; as this fun and affordable airline was ridiculing them of their by-laws and ambush marketing was a threat to their official sponsors who pay such a high fee to associate themselves with the World Cup 2010.  This created a buzz and with publicity and through Word-of-Mouth Kulula’s ad had already been seen and started rotating its way around the internet before Kulula was asked to pull it. Kulula then decided to redo their campaign and created another ad with the message “Not Next Year, Not Last Year, But somewhere in between” the ad was done in a quirky and fun way, which is the true Kulula style.

Why was this ad accused of ambush marketing when many other adverts featured the South African flag and soccer balls? Was it known to the majority of the followers that FIFA outsourced MATCH Hospitality to set a fixed price of R5 520 ($755) for all domestic flights for BA/Comair and SA Airways over the period of the 2010 World Cup*. Thus they made massive profits. Yet as Comair owns BA and it’s fun budget airline Kulula they didn’t get their hands on the whole package as Comair refused to sign both their airlines to MATCH/FIFA. Some say this is what tempered FIFA to send the legal letter. Getting revenge back fired on FIFA as the publicity generated from this was worth more than any advertising campaign would have.

Kulula Ad-The Ad that got accused of Ambush Marketing Kulula Ad-Their Come Back

*References