Ambush in South Africa

Source: Guardian News/Andrew Boyers/Action Images

While the world’s eyes were on South Africa for the World Cup, Bavaria beer from Holland (who’ve already featured on this blog for “spoofing” the classic Heineken ad) pulled off one of the highest profile examples of ambush marketing I’ve ever seen.

The official sponsor, Budweiser, were clearly not amused. FIFA neither. But Bavaria raised its profile dramatically, not just among Dutch beer drinkers.

Ambush marketing is an excellent mechanic for gaining A for Awareness in the AIDA process, at the cost of your competitor! At the same time, if done in a humorous way, it gains nodding and smiling approval from customers. If it goes wrong however, and upsets your potential target audience, beware. And if you break laws, be double aware. Two organisers could face up to 2 years in jail under the South African Contravention of Merchandise Marks Act…

Overall I’d like to give this stunt the thumbs up. Not least because it gave the media worldwide yet another excuse to compile galleries of World Cup babes. They get a thumbs down, however, not just for doing something illegal, the branding is terrible. The Bavaria brand, logo, website and advertising have no orange in them. Based on the pictures of the Dutchy Dress, you’d have expected to see a big orange brand.

Not that budding Budweiser drinkers would be any the wiser. And after Grolsch’s viral attack on the Dutchy Dress, I wonder how many beer drinkers might use the dress for alternative purposes…

Alex Woodruff

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