Is Am­bush Mar­ket­ing Mak­ing a Come­back?

Many re­cent ads un­abashedly take digs at their ri­vals. This is one of the old­est tricks in the book. Is dig­i­tal mak­ing it pop­u­lar again?

The Brand Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - By Abid Hus­sain Bar­laskar

THE FUN­DA­MEN­TALS OF BRAND BUILD­ING WILL AL­WAYS HAVE TO BE RE­MEM­BERED, RE­GARD­LESS OF THE

tac­tics used to com­mu­ni­cate a brand. There too, it can­not only be about tar­get­ing a com­peti­tor brand’s fea­tures. The fo­cus has to be on your own brand story. That’s how long-term re­la­tion­ships and re­spect is built with con­sumers. More­over, it can­not be a trend since it’s not strate­gic.

In to­day’s world, brands are tempted to ex­ploit dig­i­tal me­dia to cre­ate tac­ti­cal, low-cost films at­tack­ing the com­pe­ti­tion, but that can’t be a sus­tain­able strat­egy. Dig­i­tal of­fers a swift cost­ef­fec­tive op­por­tu­nity which can be ex­ploited and for­got­ten if it doesn’t work.

AM­BUSH MAR­KET­ING IN AD­VER­TIS­ING HAS AL­WAYS EX­ISTED AND HAS BEEN EV­I­DENT IN BITS AND PIECES. IF

one digs into the categories over the years, it can be found. How­ever, not too many big brands will do that. In to­day’s era, the mul­ti­ple dig­i­tal plat­forms al­low one to get cir­cu­lated and get more eye­balls quickly. Peo­ple love cir­cu­lat­ing stuff that is cheeky or funny. It has made the reach go large. Brands will keep tak­ing ad­van­tage of sit­u­a­tions like th­ese .

THE KEY IN­GRE­DI­ENT OF AN AM­BUSH IS THE IN­TEL­LI­GENCE USED BY SOME­BODY WITH LESSER MEANS AND

a smaller bud­get and then catch­ing the op­po­nent off-guard. But then, there are at­tempts to ride off of some­one else’s pop­u­lar­ity, which isn’t ex­actly an am­bush. It has al­ways been there.

Dig­i­tal is cost-ef­fec­tive and helps prop­a­ga­tors to be face­less and fast; there are lesser laws to bind it. It is a po­tent medium for am­bush mar­ket­ing. If a post or meme doesn’t work or goes wrong, it can van­ish in the fol­low­ing 10 min­utes and if it goes vi­ral, it’s win-win. There is no cost for fail­ure. Do­ing that on TV, print or other tra­di­tional medi­ums would cost a for­tune while be­ing gov­erned by law.

AM­BUSH MAR­KET­ING WAS NEVER PASSÉ. IT WAS AL­WAYS THERE. THE ONLY THING IS, SOME ARE RE­ALLY

well done and some are not. It’s a mat­ter of a clever idea and not all man­age to do that. It can not be a trend be­cause it’s not planned. It’s more like a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity that has to be taken ad­van­tage of.

Dig­i­tal has made it eas­ier to take ad­van­tage of, along with pro­vid­ing a large reach. To­day, you don’t re­ally need to wait to ex­e­cute an idea. One can im­me­di­ately up­load an idea and pull off a cam­paign. It re­ally works well in am­bush mar­ket­ing where be­ing fast is im­por­tant.

RA­JIV RAO film maker and former na­tional cre­ative di­rec­tor at Ogilvy and Mather

SAN­TOSH PADHI,chief cre­ative of­fi­cer and co-founder, Tap­root Dentsu

ASHISH CHAKRAVARTY chief cre­ative of­fi­cer, Con­tract Ad­ver­tis­ing In­dia

RONITA MI­TRA,founder and chief strate­gist, Brand Ea­gle Con­sult­ing

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