Thursday, October 13, 2011

UK to treat ambush marketers like terrorists at London 2012?

"Ambush Marketing" is a popular stunt by underdog brands who hire people to infiltrate public and sporting events, then do something provocative to get attention. One of the most infamous is Golden Palace, who sent a male streaker out on the field during the 2004 Super Bowl broadcast.

Not that I want to see this, mind you.

Some of us find this amusing. Official sponsors who have paid to be upstaged by some naked guy do not. And when it comes to the Olympic Games, with multi-million dollar international sponsorships at stake, the lack of amusement can have an impact on the very fabric of the legal system.

The Dim Dim Girls must be stopped at all costs!

According to The Drum:

Revised legislation has been issued this week stating that exhibitionists baring their flesh for marketing stunts in and around 2012 Olympic venues could face criminal charges and fines of up to £20,000 in the magistrates court.

CEOs, marketing directors and other senior staff of brands appearing in "ambush marketing" in the vicinity of Olympic venues will be presumed guilty unless they can prove their innocence by proving that they had no knowledge of the activity or that they took reasonable steps to prevent it happening.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) noted the risk of human bodies being used for ambush advertising following concerns raised in a recent consultation process. It has promised to "make additional changes to prohibit advertising on the human body". It says the legislation is "reasonable and proportionate", and that the matters a person is required to prove in their defence are "entirely within their knowledge".
Prove your innocence? Are they serious?

Now anyone with a financial or personal reason to cause legal trouble for marketing high-ups can just draw a logo on their bum, whip off their pants, and let the charges fly. London-based advertising lawyer Nick Johnson is quoted: "Exactly how is a CEO, a marketing director or a legal director supposed to prove they had no knowledge at all of an infringing act featuring their brand?"

And what happened to The Man having to prove guilt? Usually these kinds of draconian legislation are enacted to fight terrorists, not to protect brand integrity or sponsorship deals.

I'm not defending ambush marketing. It is not playing fair. But this kind of legal pandering to the Olympics and big brands? Bullshit.

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