Ambush Marketing & Beyond

March 13, 2015

Every creative agency likes to think differently. Thinking outside the box can put you ahead of the competition, distinguish you in a crowded market or be the difference between winning or loosing that big contract. More notably, it can create a better connect between you and the end consumer. This weeks creative blog explores our creative ethos here at The Halo Group, some of the growing trends in our deliveries and some fantastic examples of how these techniques can, and have already been employed. 


Nike’s ambush marketing campaign during the London Olympics is a notable example of how thinking outside the box can pay huge dividends. In this case “The Box” was personified by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) guidelines which prohibited, with the most stringent of rules, any marketing that could be considered corporate sponsorship, affiliation or any form of link to the games. In fact, many felt these rules were draconian. With official sponsors paying astronomical amounts for the privilege, here ambush marketing was used to great effect. Yes, it circumvented the cost, but by also ingeniously associating with the games, Nike scored a huge PR Victory. The campaigns slogan “Find Your Greatness” was accompanied by a signature note that stated:

“Somehow, we’ve come to believe that greatness is only for the chosen few, for the superstars. The truth is, greatness is for us all. This is not about lowering expectations; it’s about raising them for every last one of us. Greatness is not in one special place, and it’s not in one special person. Greatness is wherever somebody is trying to find it. Find your greatness”

In the video, amateur athletes strive to find their own greatness. With obvious parallels with the official games, the campaign is possibly the most daring example of ambush marketing, flying in the face of the authorities in a totally brazen act. Check out the video for your self to find out why.

The above example is on a stratospheric scale, but there are many other examples of ambush marketing out there. Some are a kin to a battle, directly comparing one brand to another major rival. An example of this was seen when Audi and BMW went head to head with their billboard posters.Using a chess analogy, Audi boldly proclaimed “Your Move BMW” With BMW responding with “Check Mate”.


Audi’s response was emphatic. “Check Yourself” was accompanied by an even larger, slicker billboard ad.


With what was tantamount to a smear campaign, the mind games continued, culminating in yet another curve ball by introducing a blimp proclaiming “Game Over” with a picture of BMWs F1 car.


Other examples are less confrontational, like Rona’s. Here the paint company hijacked Apples colourful campaign with its vibrant dripping Nano-Chromatique iPods seemingly continuing to flow into their paint pots with the caption “We Collect Left Over Paint” It’s a great example of thinking outside the box. Clever or humorous ideas really resonate in peoples minds and are certainly more memorable, which is ultimately the overall aim of any marketing.


Technology is another way to get creative and can really help an agency like ours think outside the box. It’s application can really give an activation or an event the edge. Technology can also greatly increase a campaigns reach and impact and can develop deep and meaningful connections with the consumer, that traditional formats simply can’t achieve. Technology comes in many different permutations, from social media, apps and online digital platforms to RFID, beacon technology, augmented reality and plethora of different devices, programmes, ideas and more. This blog will explore some of these, how we aim to use them and how we feel they can change the face of events.


RFID and Beacon Technolgy are two big tech trends we predict will be more and more prevalent in the event market in 2015 and beyond. They are not new technologies, but have huge potential. RFID uses touch points similar to those used in Oyster Cards in London. In technical terms, RFID is the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purpose of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. A good example of this could be a micro chip in a wristband, a lanyard or a keyring for example. In simpler terms, RFID can be used for cashless payment, automatic entry to festivals, automated social media sharing, data capture, analytics and much more. Imagine sitting in a themed Photo Booth at a festival, having your picture taken and then “touching In” to automatically share the picture and your location on your social media pages for example. Sharing a location based experience extends the reach of the festival beyond only those in attendance. Alternatively, you could integrate “Like Points” as part of a brand activation where people can touch in to like your product. This has obvious benefits when building up social media followings. Other ideas we have explored include touching in to gain a link to a live stream of the performance you are watching at a festival to share on social media so others can enjoy the gig online.


Beacon Technology is an idea that enables smart phones to establish radio communication with a set point when touched together. When browsing the Access All Areas website recently, we stumbled on a fantastic example that really encapsulates it’s use. The article read:

“Airspace’s founder and CEO Ian Malone gives his take on NFL’s use of beacon technology at super bowl XLIX and how it can transform the industry.

Those lucky enough to be watching the game would have received helpful tips from the venue, like which concessions queues were the shortest, or which exit was closet as well as receiving targeted promotions and special offers”

This is great example of using beacon technology. It has a two fold benefit. Attendees get a better experience and the venue get data. Both Beacon Technology and RFID have huge potential for data analysis helping event and brands understand their demographic for better ROI and building better relationships.


Exploring technology further, we have recently been introduced to Knit ( Knit provides RFID and other tech services to an outstanding level. We love Knit because they mirror many of our own ideals as an agency and put as much into a creative pitch as they do in their physical delivery. We hope to work with Knit on some high profile projects this year. Here we focus on one of their ideas to highlight how technology can help agencies think outside the box.

Their recent campaign for Rivet & Hide is a case in point. Quoting their case study form their website illustrates the story:

“Knit “tech hacked a pair of jeans by utilising the latests innovation – conductive ink. Knit utilised the window space in specialist jean store Rivet & Hide, to create an installation, which allows potential customers to hear the story of the brand and the product details as they interact with different parts of the product by touching the relevant icons on the outside of the window. This is the first time that conductive ink has been used through glass and as part of an in store retail installation. As customers walk past the store a sensor detects their proximity and a random audio sample using transducer speakers on the window encourages them to find out about the story of Hiut Jeans. For example, “Our town is making jeans again. Touch the window to find out more”

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In conclusion, thinking outside the box comes in many forms. These are but a few examples. Of course we don’t want to show all of our cards at this point but by highlighting a few examples, we hope to demonstrate our passion for doing things differently. Our creative team love nothing more than coming up with interesting twists, left-flield ideas and other interesting angles. You can find out more about our award winning services by visiting or calling 02078703210.

We look forward to hearing fro you soon.

The Halo Group

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