A couple of days ago, I heard that hundreds of football fans were forced to dump their (plastic) water bottles before they were allowed into the stadium here in Hamburg. Why ? Because this water came from non-sponsoring brands and Coca-Cola didn't like to see those in "their" stadiums. Instead they wanted to sell everyone an overpriced bottle of BonAqa and figured it would be really easy to acquire new customers on a hot summer day, once they were left with no other options than Coke's official brands. Not nice !
But sponsor madness can get much more bizarre than that (from BBC News):
Up to 1,000 Dutch fans watched their side play Ivory Coast in their underpants on Friday after they were denied entry to Stuttgart’s stadium for wearing orange trousers with the name of a Dutch brewery which was not an official sponsor.That's right! Anheuser-Busch forced potential customers (those guys surely were willing to buy an official fifa world cup beer once in the stadium) to watch the match in their underpants!!
Faced with missing the game or ditching their orange lederhosen - given away by the brewery - they made the obvious choice. Fifa officials said the trousers were an attempt at so-called ambush marketing - where a company tries to gain free publicity - and that they had to act to protect the interests of sponsors.
How stupid is that ?
The result is rapidly growing negative buzz for Anheuser-Busch and a whole lot of "viral traffic" for an obscure website called "BudOut". It was set up months ago. But nobody really cared about it. Until now. Somehow I have the feeling that's about to change !!
Looks like a PR nightmare in the making. And a nice new case for stupid marketers who get their butt (bud?) kicked by "normal consumers".
Btw, how could we classify this kind of cluelessnes ? We had "bullshit marketing" in the past. But this doesn't really fit the definition. So I guess we need a new technical term. Perhaps bully or racketeer marketing ? Boomerang-marketing ??
Any other suggestions ???
More: Basic Thinking, MarketingVOX, BL Ochman