The FIFA World Cup stimulates a frenzy of marketing activity – both official and unofficial. Qatar 2022 is unlikely to be any different.

“Ambush marketing” is not a clear legal concept but there are a host of legal and commercial measures which FIFA and the competing teams and players can deploy to address unofficial marketing which seeks to piggy-back off the excitement around the event.

We’ve published a comprehensive article “The FIFA World Cup 2022 – Ambush Marketing and the Law” which explains the different types of ambush marketing, as well as the legal and non-legal tools which are available to address them. So if you’re thinking about a marketing campaign linked to Qatar 2022 and don’t want to get into hot water, we’d recommend you take a read.

To whet your appetite, we thought we’d remind you of some of examples of past World Cup ambush marketing…:

  • During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Bavaria beer’s stunt at the Netherlands’ first match of the tournament hit the headlines. This involved Dutch models dressed in orange gaining entry into a match disguised as Danish fans, only to reveal their promotional intent once the match began. This episode led to the South African authorities making arrests, as well as the sacking of the TV pundit Robbie Earle, who had apparently supplied the tickets to the girls: a media storm ensued.
  • The Brazil 2014 World Cup saw the rise of the ‘social’ ambush with numerous companies, including Spec Savers and Peperami, opportunistically posting jokes related to Luis Suarez biting the shoulder of Italian player Giorgio Chiellini.
  • At the Russia 2018 World Cup, some brands took a more edgy approach; with one campaign highlighting Russia’s poor stance on LGBT rights by donating £10k to an LGBT focused charity for every goal scored by Russia.

Ambush marketing is always evolving to take advantage of new marketing methods, and adapting to reflect topical issues. It’ll be interesting to see what brands come up with for Qatar 2022, and whether they stay the right side of the law…

You can access the our full guidance here.