While ICC is concerned about ambush marketing, it hasn’t learnt the lesson just yet. The official web site www.ICCchampionstrophy.com promoted by television partners is sort of ambushed by Samsung by playing their ‘Team Samsung’ creative. Of course it is LG who is the ‘Global Partner’ of ICC events. The ambush comes in the form of URL www.ICCchampionstrophy.com being re-directed to www.cricketnext.com, which has the Samsung ad.
exchange4media has been following this development for last couple of days. Upon typing the URL www.ICCchampionstrophy.com several times it took us to a cricket website www.cricketnext.com. The top banner on www.cricketnext.com is Team Samsung: Official sponsor of DigitAll passion. This morning before filing the story, we again checked at 7.55 AM and typed www.ICCchampionstrophy.com and it took us to www.cricketnext.com. So was the case last Sunday and Saturday. However, for some time last Saturday evening the right pages were accessible. It seems that ICC had given the web development of www.ICCchampionstrophy.com to cricket web site, www.cricketnext.com who is using it to their and sponsor Samsung’s advantage.
The controversy stemmed from a bunch of Indian players signing up with Samsung for a series of ambush marketing advertisements while LG had signed up as Global Partner of ICC events. For the price it paid to ICC, LG seized the global sponsorship right to computer and computer peripherals apart from the durable. Consequently, Samsung couldn't burst onto the television screen even with its computer peripherals commercials that featured cricket stars. Hence it chose to use cricketers to endorse their cellular phones. Since LG had not booked the mobile phone category for sponsorship, Samsung could make good its absence in the white goods segment. Also, Samsung started its new campaign with the baseline "official sponsor of the digital passion", which is the ad on www.cricketnext.com's homepage.
The controversy started much earlier, with the inclusion of an anti ambush clause in 2000, that prohibited players from working with their sponsors for a month before and a month after the tournament. The Indian players refused to sign it on grounds that a player who had entered into a 12-month contract with a sponsor would not be able to honour that contract for that period. There was debate over why the ICC hadn't informed players about the anti-ambush marketing clause, which was agreed on way back in 2000.
While the ICC CEO was puzzled over why players hadn't come to him before signing endorsement contracts to find out if they were acceptable by the ICC; Dr A C Muthaiah, the BCCI president when these contracts were entered into, said that the clause prohibiting players from working with their sponsors for a month before, and a month after, a tournament was not part of the document he signed on behalf of the BCCI.
However players eventually signed the document after it was decided that the block out period would be reduced to 18 days from 30.
But with the new turn of events, it is yet to be seen if the ICC is effectively choosing certain associates to ambush itself.