Fuller’s Brewery has been cleared of what many describe as “ambush marketing” after the Advertising Standards Authority rejected a complaint from the Rugby Football Union.
The ad for London Pride ran during this year’s Six Nations campaign and showed images of a rugby post with the text “Support English Rugby”.
The RFU complained the ad implied it was the official sponsor of the England rugby team, a title currently held by Greene King’s IPA brand.
The watchdog says because the ad did not claim the brand was an official partner or sponsor it was unlikely that any readers would think that was the case.
Fuller’s says expressing support for “English Rugby” is not the same as supporting the England team and “support” is not the same as sponsorship.
According to some observers, there could be an increasing number of similar “ambush marketing” cases in the build up to London 2012 and next year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
David Atkinson, managing partner of Space and head of the agency’s sport and entertainment division, says there will be more attempts to “fray the rule book over coming years”.
He adds the ASA’s ruling is “significant” but only if it “sparks further debate on the code and action is taken to further eliminate the loopholes”.