Weapons of mass intrusion: The leveraging of ambush marketing strategies

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Journal Article
European Journal of Marketing, 2014, 48 (1), pp. 314 - 335
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Purpose: The study presented in this article aims to examine the impact of the leveraging of three distinct ambush marketing strategies that are under-researched in the literature: Promotion, Event, and Broadcast. Design/methodology/approach: An experiment was conducted where the type of ambush strategy was manipulated (i.e. Promotion, Event, Broadcast, no ambush) as well as the market dominance of the sponsor (i.e. dominant or non-dominant) and the congruence level between the event and the sponsor (i.e. high or low congruence). Findings: Ambush strategies' impacts differ widely. The Broadcast strategy is the most harmful to the identification of the actual sponsor; the Event strategy favors the identification of the pseudo-sponsor as the sponsor, while the Promotion strategy is both harmful to the actual sponsor and beneficial for the pseudo-sponsor. Furthermore, although dominant brands benefit more from their sponsorships, they are more affected by an ambush than non-dominant brands. Research limitations/implications: Only one sponsor and one pseudo-sponsor were considered at a time. In addition, digital media were not investigated as vectors of ambush marketing. Further research where multiple sponsors and pseudo-sponsors are leveraging their associations to an event, using both off and on-line media, needs to be undertaken. Practical implications: Against the Promotion strategy sponsors need to create not only strong but also unique associations with the event. The Event strategy can be circumvented with preemptive smaller scale events. Exclusive access to the program broadcast for event sponsors can protect against pseudo-sponsors. Originality/value: This study is the first to provide empirical evidence regarding the impact of the Promotion, Event, and Broadcast strategies. Previous studies had focused almost exclusively on another strategy: the airing of commercials by pseudo-sponsors during event broadcast against which most sponsors are now effectively protected. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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