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 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