Ambush Marketing At It’s Finest

Here in Brazil, there is a very large jewlrey chain called H. Stern… or at least it seems very large, because their brand is promoted everywhere.  And I mean everywhere.  In hotels, on the back of room keys, on the side of busses…  In fact, if I didn’t know any better I would think H. Stern was the only company in Brazil.

One day last week, our MBA group was boarding our tour bus, and a representative from H. Stern was standing outside handing us product samples from their store.  “Hm…” I silently thought to myself.  “Handing out expensive product samples of 10,000R plus gemstones to a group of 24 broke college student.  What a ‘great’ spend of your marketing dollars.”  Oh well, I wasn’t too bothered by it, as I did get a pretty star-shaped charm out of the transaction.

So the very next day, as we’re (again) boarding our bus, we see another representative handing out product samples.  As I approached the door of the bus, he hands me a piece of jewelry and says, “Hi, I’m [Insert complicated Portuguese name I can’t pronounce] from [Insert company name I don’t remember, but only because its not plastered on the back of every hotel room key in the city] a competitor of H. Stern.  Buy from us instead.”  All right; duly noted. 

It seems as if jewelry companies in Brazil have learned the value of ambush marketing.  Unfortunately for them, I doubt either one of these firms will be realizing sales from us any time soon.



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