Most football properties already undertake extensive policing of their brand and environment through compliance monitoring or commercial auditing across media platforms and around the venue. The key remains how the policing is enforced if any breaches are found. The best principle to follow is that prevention is better than cure.
How to protect your properties against Ambush Marketing
Ambush campaigns tend to be national in nature and so their reach is usually quite limited compared to the potential global reach of an official partnership. More generally, the best defence is a properly executed and sufficiently leveraged official campaign. Given its primacy of position and credibility of authorisation, official activity should always overshadow more loosely connected and less universal ambush activation. When buying an official partnership, a brand is tapping into legacy, tradition and history, three crucial aspects of how football fans view the game. An ambush campaign can, at best, simulate a current association, but we have yet to see a credible campaign that links a non-sponsor with the past.
One of the most important keys to a successful marketing campaign is an integrated activation. Multiple platforms and vehicles should transmit a common theme. Official partnerships enjoy a much richer palette of opportunities than outside brands. This is a potentially powerful head start.