What Drives Ambush Marketer Misidentification?

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Elisabeth Wolfsteiner University of Vienna

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Reinhard Grohs Private University Seeburg Castle

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Udo Wagner University of Vienna

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This article investigates the effectiveness of ambush marketing in terms of ambush marketer misidentification in the context of sports events. Grounded in associative network models and memory reconstruction heuristics, an empirical study examines how different ambush marketing strategies as well as event, ambush marketer, official sponsor, and individual consumer characteristics can result in ambush marketer misidentification. A descriptive survey collects data on consumers’ knowledge and perceived misleading potential of four ambush marketing strategies. Finally, three experiments aim to determine the effectiveness of these strategies and the aforementioned drivers in terms of actual ambush marketer misidentification. The results from the experiments are contrasted with the findings from the survey study. Findings are discussed with emphasis on implications for researchers, ambush marketers, official sponsors, and event organizers.

Elisabeth Wolfsteiner is with the Department of Marketing, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. Reinhard Grohs is with the Private University Seeburg Castle, Seekirchen am Wallersee, Austria. Udo Wagner is with the Department of Marketing, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. Address author correspondence to Elisabeth Wolfsteiner at elisabeth.wolfsteiner@univie.ac.at.

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