Ambush marketing, West Indian style

On similar lines to my previous post comes a cracking post from Adam Mountford, a BBC producer. He had earlier reported that many Bajans were put off visiting the grounds due to the stringent rules imposed on them, so he tracked down Chris de Caires, chairman of the Barbados organising committee.

De Caires told me he wanted to make sure that people knew they were visiting the Kensington Oval in Barbados, not the Kennington Oval in London. But he also told me one story which proves that the need to keep corporate interests happy is still on his mind.

The ICC will go to great lengths to stop “ambush marketing” – the practice whereby companies would hijack the World Cup to promote products which are rivals to the official sponsors of the event. Before the warm-up matches at the 3Ws Oval he had to go round all the toilets putting tape over any brand names on the bathroom furniture. Unfortunately one of the cleaning staff had obviously missed the brief about the dangers of ambush marketing.

She happened to be cleaning one night when she noticed lots of tape in the toilets and decided to remove it all so the toilets were properly cleaned.

Perhaps she has the right idea.

Reminds me of a funny situation in Nairobi last month at the Gymkhana. A guest was invited to hand out the Man-of-the-Match awards at a particular game, but he had to make a short speech beforehand. “What do I say? What does one do at these events?” he asked an ICC representative who told him he needs to mention the sponsors. All of them. And with the lack of funds made available to Kenya, there were two or three. It sounded so forced I couldn’t help chuckle at the banality and falseness of it all.

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