Brands launch backlash against brand police

Brewdog has become the latest brand to try and provoke Olympic chiefs into action by launching a limited edition ‘Olympic beer’ that it claims is “laced with performance enhancing ingredients”.

BREWDOGPRINT

The Scottish brewer is launching its ‘Never Mind the Anobolics’ 6.5% India Pale Ale this week in the hope that it will “undermine global sponsorship deals” for the London 2012 Games. Its packaging is likely to raise a few eyebrows at Locog for featuring rings, which could be deemed as a breach of sponsors’ exclusivity rights.

Brewdog says: “Never Mind the Anabolics takes its lead from the relentless marketing campaigns of global fast-food chains and international mass production breweries that replace the sporting spirit with a fast buck, a greasy burger and an ugly plastic cup of insipid, fizzy, yellow lager.”

The company’s beer arrives in the same week as off-licence chain Oddbins unveiled what it claims is a “counter-marketing strike” against Olympic chiefs. The retailer is offering a 30% discount to anyone who visits its stores with products from non-sponsors.

Meanwhile, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power courted controversy earlier this week when it launched a PR push around Locog’s investigation into whether its campaign for the ‘The greatest sporting event in London, France’ was in breach of any branding laws.

Organisers’ attempts to stamp out ambush marketing around the Games in recent months may have backfired, according to sponsorship observers, and could spark a raft of similar tactical campaigns from non-sponsors.

Rupert Pratt, managing director at sponsorship agency Generate, says the stunts are setting a precedent for what brands can and can’t get way with, adding that it will “fuel future ideas” for ambush marketing.

He adds: “The interesting thing will be to look at how Locog responds to the stunts. It’s as if the likes of Paddy Power are taunting Locog into getting drawn into a public debate around the branding laws and if this happens they’ll generate more coverage for them.”

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