Ambush Marketing at the Vancouver Olympics

Ambush Marketing?

Verizon, Subway & Pepsi among top Ambush marketers at Vancouver Games

Winter Olympics tracked by the TrendTopper Ambush Index

Canadian companies Roots Canada and Lululemon lead Overall Rankings

Austin, Texas.  February 18, 2010 – Verizon, Subway, and Pepsi are among the top ‘Ambush’ marketers for the opening weekend of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games according to the TrendTopper Ambush Index (TrendTopper AI™) of Austin-based Global Language Monitor. Ambush marketers are companies that attempt to associate themselves with an event even though they are not ‘official’ sponsors of that event.  Of course, it should be noted that alleged ‘ambush’ marketers generally disagree with this designation, insisting that they are simply pursuing marketing ‘best practices’.

Naming and shaming for Olympic ambush marketers (Reuters)

The TrendTopper Ambush Index tracks brand media presence in relation to the Winter Games.  It’s based upon GLM’s Predictive Quantities Index, a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere, now including social media. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

For the 2009 – 2012 Olympic Quadrennial, there are nine Global Partners:  Coca-Cola, Acer, GE, McDonalds, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung, Visa, and AT&T.  The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has two additional national partners:  P&G and the Budweiser unit of inBev. The Canadian Olympic committee has a number of local partners, of which five were included:  Deloitte, Tyson Foods, United Airlines, Hilton and Nike.

For this analysis, the alleged Ambush Marketers included:  Verizon, Subway, Pepsi, MasterCard and Adidas in the Global Category. The National Category included Lululemon Athletica, Blenz Coffee, Roots Canada, Scotiabank, and Howe Sound Brewing.    Past sponsors, also,  who continue to enjoy the glow of past Olympic associations, such as: Allstate, Bank of America, Home Depot, and Lenovo were also included in the analysis.

“The TrendTopper MediaBuzz Ambush Index ranks all perceived Olympic sponsors according to their presence in the global media, whether or not they see themselves as such,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM.  “If they are statistically linked to the Vancouver Games, they qualify for the Ambush Index”.

The IOC defines ambush marketing as leveraging the “goodwill of the Olympic/Paralympic Movement by creating a false, unauthorized association with the Olympic/Paralympic Movement.”  Whether the marketer does this intentionally or inadvertently, it allows the marketer to benefit from an association with the Olympic Brand without providing any financial support to them.

The Top Twenty-five marketers as measured by brand media presence in relation to the Winter Games follow.

Rank (1-25), Marketer, and Affiliation

1.   Roots Canada — alleged Ambush Marketer

2.   Proctor & Gamble — USOC

3.   Deloitte — Canadian

4.   Budweiser unit of inBev — USOC

5.   Lululemon — alleged Ambush Marketer

6.   NBC unit of General Electric — IOC

7.   Tyson Foods — Canada

8.    McDonalds — IOC

9.    Polo Ralph Lauren — USOC

10.  Hilton — Canada

11.   Nike — Canada

12.  Verizon — Alleged Ambushed

13.  AT&T — IOC

14.  Subway — Alleged Ambusher

15.  Pepsi — Alleged Ambusher

16.  Coca-Cola — IOC

17.  MasterCard — Alleged Ambusher

18.  Omega — IOC

19.  United Airlines — Canada

20.  Adidas — Alleged Ambusher

21.  General Electric — IOC

22.  Visa — IOC

23.  Panasonic — IOC

24.  Samsung — IOC

25.  Acer — IOC

Over the course of the last several Olympiads (or quadrennials as they are now called), the IOC has significantly tightened the reins on the use of certain words without permission.  For example, the Canadian Parliament has restricted use of some fairly common words in certain combinations without specific permission.

For example, words on Lists 1 and 2 may not be combined.

List 1: Games, 2010, Twenty-ten, 21st, XXIst, 10th, Tenth, Xth, or Medals

List 2: Winter, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Sponsor, Vancouver, or Whistler

In the TrendTopper AI analysis, Marketers are ranked both by category and then overall.  Rankings are calculated, normalized and cross-indexed.

For trend analysis, momentum and velocity calculations, the TrendTopper AI analysis will be run at the halfway point of the Winters Games, with the final tally appearing after the Closing Ceremony.

In addition, a TrendTopper AI ranking of athletes will appear early next week and at the conclusion of the Games.  For more information, call 1.925.367.7557.

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