Unmasking the ambushers: conceptual framework and empirical evidence

Marc Mazodier (Institut Supérieur de Gestion, Groupe de Recherche Interdisciplinaire de l'ISG (GrIIsg), Paris, France)
Pascale Quester (Department of Marketing, University of Adelaide Business School, Adelaide, Australia)
Jean‐Louis Chandon (IAE Aix en Provence, Cols Guiot Puyricard, France)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Publication date: 10 February 2012



Sport events organizers have recently undertaken to disclose to the general public instances where firms have conspired to ambush the official sponsors. In doing so, they have sought to sensitise audiences to sponsors' valuable contribution. However, what is the effect of such disclosure on ambush marketers' brands? This study aims to answer this question, using an experimental approach.


Two successive experiments were conducted. The first study used a student sample (n=120) and a fictitious brand. The second study used a before‐and‐after experiment with control groups (n=480), using four real brands and print disclosure articles. Data was collected from six French metropolitan areas and analysed using Repeated Measure ANOVA and MANOVA.


Ambush marketing disclosure is associated with lower attitudes towards the ambusher's brand. Two variables moderate this effect: involvement in the event and attitude towards sponsorship, both of which worsen the negative influence of ambush disclosure on audiences' attitudes.

Research limitations/implications

While the empirical work reflects one national context and one specific sport event, these findings are the first to empirically support the notion that disclosure of ambush practices adversely impacts ambushers' brand.

Practical implications

These results offer official sponsors and event organisers an effective alternative strategy to legal protection, with demonstrated effects on the core target audience of the event.


The literature has alluded to possible perverse effects of ambush marketing. This study is the first to draw an analogy with corrective advertising to test and demonstrate the impact of ambush disclosure on ambushers' brands.



Mazodier, M., Quester, P. and Chandon, J. (2012), "Unmasking the ambushers: conceptual framework and empirical evidence", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 46 No. 1/2, pp. 192-214. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090561211189284

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.