Parasitic Marketing or Ambush Marketing


Jay Badiyani
Senior Lecturer & HOD
Shri Jaysukhlal Vadhar Institute of Management Studies
And Shri Bipin T. Vadhar College of Management
Jamnagar, Gujarat
Cell: 94264 60369, E-mail:


Parasitic life means dependent life. The ambush or parasitic marketing is the marketing which take the advantage of value of publicity of major event specifically sports event without paying the requisite fee and being the official sponsor. It has affected world cup football, World cup cricket and Olympics in a big way. Other events also got affected. There are laws against it enacted by some countries specifically Australia but, Indians need to do a lot for elimination of such activities. Will government take the steps?

The paper.


As in biology, parasite means those living organisms that live on food made by other living creatures. Parasitic marketing means taking the advantage of value of a major event publicity i. e. that product or company live on food made by other events. It is also refered as Ambush marketing.

Marketing guru Jerry Welsh has first coined the word Ambush marketing as a situation in which a company or product seeks to ride on the publicity values of a major event without having to finance the event through sponsorship. Ambush Marketing means when companies try to pass themselves off as official sponsors when they are not.  Most of the advertisements are done during major sporting events.  Companies begin to advertise nationwide. 

Another way Ambush marketing explained is pretending to be a sponsor of a major sporting events but actually not being a sponsor i.e. without paying requisite fees.

Ambush or parasitic marketing can be classified in two classes.

1. Direct ambush marketing. In 1994 football world cup, MasterCard received exclusive rights for using world cup logo, but a rival Sprints communication used the logo without permission. This is direct attack but can be defended by laws.

2. Indirect ambush marketing. Several ways indirect ambush marketing can take place like sponsoring the broadcast of the event, sponsoring subcategories of the major event etc.

Kodak vs. Fuji : An example of Ambush marketing.

Eastman Kodak of Rochester, NY reportedly spend about $40 million to be the sole imaging sponsor of the 1996 Olympic Games. Fuji another film company, which advertised on the radio and on newspaper, believed that the promotion may take advantage of the country's strong interest in sports.  Fuji also planed to offer a poster series and desk calendar featuring athletes such as Dan O'BRIEN and Michael Johnson, both strong contenders for the Olympic team.  The concern is that people walk away thinking that another film company besides Kodak is an Olympic sponsor. Fuji was  sponsor the track and field since 1990, Images of Excellence show just how blurry the line is between savvy marketing and deliberate ambushing can become. 
Outcomes of Ambush marketing.

Main consequences of ambush marketing are

* The commercial value of the event decreases.
* It creates unhealthy competitive environment.
* It may adversely affect the funding of the event.
* Every company would like to be an ambusher instead of paying a huge amount for sponsoring.

Protection against Ambushers.

Australia enacted a new law called Sydney 2000 Act to deal specifically with the ambush marketing. The objectives of the acts are

* To protect and to further, the position of Australia as a participant in the games, and support the world Olympic and Para Olympic movement.

* To do the above to the extent that it is within the power of the Parliament to assist in protecting the relation and ensure the performance of the obligations of the Sydney 2000 Games bodies to the World Olympic.

In India there is almost no protection against indirect ambush marketing. However, for direct ambush marketing there are several laws like The Trade Practices Act, Trade Marks Act, The Copyright Act, The Counterfeit Goods Act and Merchandise Marks Act etc.

The Future Managers views.

Here, every talented person can think about laws which should be enacted against the ambush marketing. When asked to 200 current and past M. B. A. students, 184 opined that there should be laws against ambush marketing arguing that those spend much on events must get advantages of the expenditure. 12 saying no for framing the rules arguing that it's the era of competition. Everybody is free to decide what to do and business of every business to stay in business. 4 expressed unwillingness to opine for the issue.


Should India frame such laws when day by day the popularity of sports events specifically Cricket is increasing. The answer may be yes or no but if yes, then there are several questions for the government and organizers. Will government answer it ?


1. Bounds, Wendy. 1995. "Fuji Move May Miff Kodak at Olympics"
2. Curthoys Jerymy, "Ambush Marketing and the Sydney 2000 Games ( Indicia and Image ) Protection Act : A Retrospective," Vol. 2 No. 2, June 2001, ref :

Jay Badiyani
Senior Lecturer & HOD
Shri Jaysukhlal Vadhar Institute of Management Studies
& Shri Bipin T. Vadhar College of Management
Jamnagar, Gujarat
Cell: 94264 60369, E-mail:

Source: E-mail July 10, 2005


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