Sydney Olympics to 'shame' claimed ambush marketers

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SYDNEY -- Sydney 2000 Olympic Games organizers, angry at what they consider "emotional ambush" advertising, are planning a "shame" campaign directed at non-sponsors of the Olympics such as international airline Qantas and National Australia Bank, the country's largest bank. Five unnamed agencies have been asked to pitch.

"Our intention is to embarrass them," says John Moore, the organizing committee's marketing manager. "They have not paid any money to support the Olympics and we don't want people to think they have...we're dealing with a whole bunch of pretenders and it's about time the public knows it."

Qantas launched a major campaign through its Sydney agencies, M&C Saatchi and John Singleton Advertising, last month featuring Australian athletes, many of them Olympic champions or contenders, with the theme "Flying toward 2000." Ansett Airlines, Qantas' major rival which paid $30m-plus for Olympic sponsorship, has yet to disclose its Olympic campaign.

The National Australia Bank has begun a major campaign through George Patterson Bates Melbourne, dubbed "Team National" which also features prominent Australian athletes. The Olympic sponsor is the Westpac Banking Group which paid about $25m.

Moore agrees the Qantas and NAB ads do not breach copyright but says a survey last week showed 40% of respondents believe Qantas is the official Olympic sponsor. Qantas chief executive James Strong said the committee's reaction was "absurd".

Copyright July 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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