Olly Wehring

Is Ashes fever getting to the Aussies?

By: Olly Wehring - 20 October 2006 18:10

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Interesting to see the Australians squabbling among themselves ahead of next month’s Ashes series.

Alas, it’s not Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath bickering over who should bowl from which end, but the country’s two biggest brewers arguing over so-called “ambush marketing” surrounding the Ashes, world cricket’s longest and deepest rivalry.

Last week, Foster’s Group, which is a major sponsor of the national association Cricket Australia, accused arch-rival Lion Nathan of “ambush marketing” with its own sponsorship of a nationwide beach cricket tournament.

A Foster’s executive even went as far as labelling Lion’s behaviour as “un-Australian”.

Both Foster’s and Lion have tried to downplay the row. A Foster’s spokesman told just-drinks the spat was “a storm in a teacup” while his counterpart at Lion said he didn’t want to “fuel the issue further” by commenting.

Leaving aside the unlikelihood of Australian beer drinkers confusing beach cricket with the Ashes and Foster’s apparent over-sensitivity on the issue, as unashamed Englishmen we at just-drinks have allowed ourselves a wry smile at the bickering between our Australian cousins. Not because we see it as a sign of Australian nerves ahead of the English holders of the Ashes defending the little urn Down Under, but because, deep down, we’re a tad worried the Aussies are going to win it back.

Comments on this blog post

This is an interesting area. Ambush marketing within the sports industry is a growing concern for large companies that pin months of ad campaigns on the rights to official sponsorship. From their view, they are getting undercut when unpaid, cheeky and often hostile ambush tactics are deployed by rivals. From a customer's view, they are being subliminally misled and possibly falsely glugging Lion beer in association with the Ashes, for example. However, as the World Cup demonstrated, every business can benefit from nationwide or international sports fever such as the World Cup or the Ashes. It is up to marketers to ethically use ambush marketing for their brands' benefit and for the lawyers to debate the sanctions.


carl, United Kingdom

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