Event sponsorship and ambush marketing: Lessons from the Beijing Olympics Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Event sponsorship and ambush marketing:

Lessons from the Beijing Olympics


The case study is about the ambush marketing issues in the corporate sector, it comprehensively lays out the situations and issues that an organization might face as a sponsor for a global event. The case study is conducted by the Global Market In site and it is also termed as GMI institute, which is a short term of its abbreviation. The company’s primary operations are of conducting sampling and surveys. It is well expanded and has a global reach and presence in over 200 hundred countries. The company conducts surveys online through its consumer panel, which represents all age segments of the society and population.

The issue in the case study is about ambush marketing strategies that the companies often practice during the global and mega events where attendance is prominent and audiences are represent almost the whole world. They do this because they simply don’t have enough funds to sponsor the event or they did not bid high enough. The case illustrates the example of Beijing Olympics 2008 where A did as  was the official sponsor of the mega event but its marketing and publicity was hijacked unexpectedly by a local foot wear company. The key players in the case are Adidas as it was a sponsor, Nike as it is a major competitor, Li Ning as it is the ambusher and local foot Wear Company, the IOC and the Chinese Olympic association which is a government sports body.



The balanced approach principle of ambush marketing is the most feasible approach while considering all the key players that are getting affected due to illegal and unethical practice of some business entity. It will allow the legislators to consider and take feedback from all the affected parties that have faced the consequences. In this case, the key players are the Adidas Company, Chinese Olympics association, international Olympic association and the government of the country. The Chinese government, its Olympic association and the international Olympic association are the key players because they are the organizers of the event and any dissatisfaction of the sponsors will likely be counter-productive as they might find it hard to raise funds for any future events.

here fore, the legislators must listen to the reservations of all including the sponsor and make a strategy for countering the ambush marketing.


Time limitation principle is the most feasible option for the management of the organization to pursue and adopt. The time limitation principles provide legal and legislation cover for the organization to secure their sponsorship rights and domains as they are the legal entity to reap the benefits out of the event.

It gives them the increased corporate rights that are not part of the corporate laws of the country for the venue or the locality of the event to promote their financial benefits and interests before and after the conclusion of the event for a certain time period. This legislation will empower the management of the organization to secure and safeguard its business interests and rights, which it has legally purchased through bidding and sponsoring the event.


The principle of fair use and non-distinctive terms of the legislation is the most feasible principle for the environment and the business industry as it will guide all the stakeholders of the business environment to follow ethical procedures and corporate morals. This principle clearly illustrates and asks the companies that are not the sponsors of the sporting event to refrain from using terms and trademark logos, which may confuse the general public and the society and it may give birth to the general perception that the company is a sponsor of the event. It provides to the business community who are not the sponsors of the event to use some other terms that do not relate to the sporting event in any way as it is unethical. This principle can help to improve the ethical culture of the business environment in China and further ambush marketing in the country so that future sponsors may not be damaged as Adidas was damaged...........................

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