Discursive Power in Commercial-Rights Management: Examining the Origins of Ethical Framing of Ambush Marketing

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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This research examined the efforts of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to frame ambush marketing as an ethically or morally dubious practice and thus influence consumer opinion. After an extensive documentary content analysis of internal Olympic-marketing and Games-development archival materials from the International Olympic Committee’s Library and Olympic Studies Centre, the study’s findings offer new insight into the IOC’s overt influence on ambush discourse as a strategic communication objective in combatting ambush marketing. Results evidence a deliberate attempt on the part of stakeholders to employ “name and shame” public relations and educational campaigns to position ambush marketing as ethically objectionable. In thus examining the discursive power wielded by the IOC, the study offers new perspective on the implications of such ethical framing and illustrates the way that ambush-marketing research and conceptualizations have been defined by rights holders’ influence and censure.

Burton is with the Dept. of Sport Management, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON, Canada. Bradish is with the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Burton (nburton@brocku.ca) is corresponding author.
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