Over the years there have been plenty of examples of sporting pitch invasions by visiting attendees trying to grab the attention of everyone around them. Whether it’s for a bit of fun or something more sinister there have been times where security simply didn’t get to the ‘invader’ quickly enough and get them off the pitch.
Nowadays, if this happens, then the cameras tend to take them out of shot thus not allowing them to have any more media exposure which is, after all, what they want. However, last week many were shocked by how easily three ‘supporters’ managed to invade Tottenham’s football pitch during an important match at White Hart Lane in just over 20 minutes.
Having watched the invasion on the pitch, both during the match and afterwards online, as well as hearing about the three invaders speaking about the prank they were about to pull it really does seem that, on this occasion, this particular ambush marketing campaign for BassBuds headphones really has gone a step too far.
We only have to think back to the 2010 World Cup when a sea of women in orange-clad dresses attended the Holland / Denmark game …and whilst arrests were made afterwards it did generate huge media interest across the news despite no one actually being on the pitch itself. Then there was ‘pants-gate’ at Euro 2012 when Nicklas Bendtner showed the world his lucky Paddy Power pants.
Unlike their orange counterparts or even Nicklas Bendtner, what’s most unusual with the Tottenham invaders is that the company logo (BassBuds headphones) displayed on all three invaders t-shirts are actually producers of licensed Spurs merchandise. Which makes us wonder why a company, that already has an agreement with a big football club of Tottenham’s stature, would jeopardise the relationship by running an ambush marketing campaign? Perhaps their contract with Spurs was coming to an end and they thought they would go out on a ‘supposed high’.
Whilst they did make a big splash and generate plenty of headlines and debates on social media the subject matter has divided audiences with many sites running polls to see whether readers agreed with the tactics deployed by the company.
Some believe it was a step too far and unnecessary and could have resulted in far more serious consequences. Tottenham has since removed the company’s stock and says it’s investigating the matter further. As someone’s whose husband is a lifelong Tottenham supporter for him it was irritating and annoying and ‘messed up the flow of the first half of the game’. Though he did say it was lucky for the company pulling the stunt that Tottenham had actually won the match on the night. 30,000+ angry Tottenham supporters would have been even less impressed on the football grounds had the team lost such an important game.
It will be interesting to see if there was a spike in sales after the stunt, which took place on the eve of black Friday, or whether this was just the company’s 15 minutes of fame. There are plenty of other ways to generate media interest and consumer awareness …including hiring a reputable PR agency who has plenty of experience in product placement.