Published on February 19, 2014
WINTER GAMES 2014 Ambush Marketing
Welcome In February, we at Email Institute are taking a break from our usual preoccupation with digital messaging to track and report back on marketing campaigns across all channels that were inspired by the events in Sochi, Russia. This SlideShare looks at the ways that unofficial advertisers, large and small, are capitalizing on the attention focused on the Winter Games. Whether you applaud the more aggressive tactics of ambush marketing or shake your fist, it’s a reality that marketers need to be aware of, particularly around sporting events. We think you’ll find both inspiration and cautionary advice in our judges’ reaction to the examples we’ve provided. After the Closing Ceremony, we’ll release our 2014 Olympic Games Look Book—a review of the top campaigns and tactics as rated by our judges. Do any of these campaigns look like medal contenders to you? Have you seen a great Winter Games marketing campaign that you think we overlooked? Email us at email@example.com with your comments and suggestions, and we'll run them by our judging panel.
Eastern Mountain Sports Email Subject Line: Olympic-Size Savings - Up To 70% Off What our judges say: “Great subject line with strong open rates to prove it. Very clever use of the carbineers! The image may be a little large, but retail brands can usually pull off a bold design like this. Final point--you must be optimized for mobile!”
Stonewall Kitchen Email Subject Line: Medal-worthy flavors What our judges say: “It’s a very enticing email, and the visuals are strong. The subject line is a little vague, and the open rate for this message is below the industry average. With this strong email creative, they should introduce more subject line and time of day testing to improve their open rate.”
Life is Good Email Subject Line: United in Love: New USA Limited Editions What our judges say: “This email got our attention because of its positive yet subtle show of support for the U.S. Olympic team—and, depending on your interpretation, for gay rights. Either way, it’s timely and right on message for their brand without bashing you over the head with a hockey stick.”
Nike “#justdoit” Campaign What our judges say: “It’s impossible to talk about ambush marketing without mentioning Nike. Love it or hate it, they have a defined strategy—and it seems to work. They continue to get plenty of brand exposure at these events and are often mistaken for an official sponsor.”
TV & YouTube
Guinness “Made of More” Campaign What our judges say: “A very memorable TV, print, and online ad campaign that ran for exactly one day. Guinness adhered to the U.S. Olympic Committee mandates by pulling the promotion prior to the month-long blackout period required for non-sponsors. The first rule of ambush marketing: know the rules so you don’t accidentally violate them.”
Dos Equis “The Most Interesting Man in the World” Campaign What our judges say: “Should we apologize for selecting another beer commercial? No! This ad accomplishes what every ambush marketer strives for. It stays true to brand’s sly and witty message, aligns itself firmly to a socially relevant event, and doesn’t violate the rules set by the U.S. Olympic Committee.”
Kentucky Fried Chicken #howdoyouKFC Campaign What our judges say: “Wow. It’s a simple concept and I can’t forget the image of this ski jumper eating chicken, so it’s definitely a win for KFC. The spot ends with the brand's "#howdoyouKFC?" Twitter hashtag—simple but effective.”
JCPenney “Go Ligety” Campaign What our judges say: “JCPenney is an official sponsor, so this doesn’t qualify as ambush marketing, but we couldn’t pass it up. It’s superbly creative, supportive of Ted Ligety, helps financially support Team USA, and celebrates the retailer’s core customer: Moms. JCPenney, ya’ll!”
Key Takeaways • Be bold and fun while staying consistent with your brand’s message. • Cover your (ahem)…bases. Research phrases, restrictions for the use of images, etc. before you finalize your campaign’s messages and themes to avoid copyright and trademark infringement. • Be topical. Whether it’s the Winter Games, Jimmy Fallon taking over The Tonight Show, or another Nor’easter, newsworthy events can be opportunities to start a dialogue and build engagement with your customers.
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