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Cheap ad shot by Digicel at Champs

Published:Sunday | March 29, 2015 | 11:07 AM


As I watched the race which Michael O'Hara won, I was initially shocked and then angered when I saw the glaring move of ambush marketing pulled off by Digicel. Everybody knows that Calabar has no red in its school colours. Everybody knows that the red in the shirt was the signature red of Digicel. Everybody knows that 'Be Extraordinary' belongs to Digicel.

So what is immoral about having Michael O'Hara, a potential professional athlete, take off his school colours to subtly advertise for Digicel? EVERYTHING! The act of stealing national and international exposure of Digicel on LIME, GraceKennedy and other sponsors' dollar was unethical.

Any organisation can perform an act of ambush marketing by association or by intrusion as Digicel did. If we refer to FIFA guidelines about ambush marketing, we will see that FIFA, in preparation for the last World Cup, expected acts like the one we saw at the 2015 Boys and Girls' Athletic Championships.

FIFA said it considers that "campaigns will be illicit where they 'do not pretend any direct connection with the event', but are nevertheless "orchestrated in such a way (through use of other imagery and/or textual references) that the consumer's attention or subconscious consideration is drawn to the company's brand and the tournaments at the same time, allowing for intangible brand value transfer to take place ...".

This is exactly what Digicel did. While ISSA, the police and school principals were busy trying not to let violence mar the fun of Champs, they forgot to pay attention to hoodlum marketing. Don't get us wrong. The sponsorship of athletes by corporate Jamaica is always great, but to encroach on a competitor's marketing dollar is wrong.

We should never try to beat our competitors by cheating. The irony is that Calabar won fair and square, by hard and dedicated work, yet Digicel cheated by using an innocent athlete.


Portmore, St Catherine