Ambush marketing: would you bare all to promote your business?

Marketing is one of the must-dos that a lot of people either forget about when thinking about starting a business and outting together a business plan – or they shy away from it because they don’t think they know enough about it to get started.

But it really isn’t rocket science, and once you start to brainstorm, you’ll find that you have quite a few ideas on how to market your business. If you don’t you could always get the professionals in.

The 2010 World Cup is famous for many controversies, but one of the most interesting things that happened had nothing to do with what actually taking place on the pitch, but was an example of ambush marketing.

During a game between Holland and Denmark officials noticed 36 female fans were standing together wearing orange miniskirts (the colour worn by the Dutch team) in the stadium.

Their outfits were advertising the Dutch brewery Bavaria so they were promptly escorted out of the stadium. It was the latest in a growing series of ambush marketing campaigns by the brewery.

As you can imagine, the World Cup had its own sponsor, and the rules laid down by the sport’s governing body, meant that other companies in specific sectors were not allowed to advertise inside the stadium if that sector is already represented by another company – which in this case was another beer sponsor. By advertising a competing brand, Bavaria had technically broken this law.

The end result, of course, was that although Bavaria’s advertising was banished from the stadium, the company got a major publicity boost from news stories in newspapers the world over, often in articles decrying the corporate stranglehold on the sporting world.

Although they had not paid anything like the amount demanded by the governing body to advertise their product, they had received plenty of good publicity – which is the point of ambush marketing. Whatever you think of their tactics, they worked admirably.

Now, I’m not suggesting you break any laws! But if you can think outside the box a little, you may find a winning formula to getting your business known.

One woman’s ambush marketing technique that’s still reaping her rewards

Joanna Gardiner – the MD of Ovelle Pharmaceuticals in Ireland – believed in her brand so much that she stripped off naked for a company advert.

An example of ambush marketing, Joanna went completely nude for the controversial clip, which has become an instant hit on video sites such as YouTube.

We wrote a story about this back in 2007, and we still get hits – several hundred hits a week in fact – to this one article today, three years later.

Again, I’m not suggesting that you get naked to market your business! But you can see that ambush marketing techniques do work…

Further information

You can view the advert at, and Elave is available from and independent pharmacies throughout the UK.

Ambush marketing: would you go naked to ptomote your business?
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