Metro to counter ambush marketing

Bylaw prompted by hosting of Ironman championship

Ironman 70.3 World Championship
Ironman 70.3 World Championship
Image: File picture

The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality has started public meetings aimed at enforcing a new bylaw against ambush marketing.

The proposed law change has been prompted by the metro’s host city agreement for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

One of the two meetings to discuss the draft bylaw with small and medium business was thwarted yesterday by the march against the minimum wage agreement, but the metro hopes to continue these meetings today.

The new bylaw would prohibit companies from marketing their businesses at events when they are not official sponsors or vendors.

Municipal spokesman Kupido Baron said the march had led to one meeting being called off.

“We will be rescheduling this [interrupted] session.”

The bylaw comes ahead of the Ironman 70.3 World Championship that will be hosted in Port Elizabeth on September 1 and 2.

The championship is expected to draw huge international attention, as it will be televised.

Protection against ambush marketing, including the implementation and enforcement of the bylaw, is included in the host city agreement.

It stipulates that the municipality should “endeavour and make every effort to introduce and implement a bylaw” around ambush marketing, which would confirm that such marketing is illegal.

But Baron said the municipality had decided to create a generic bylaw due to an increasing number of local and international events being hosted in the metro.
“When Ironman asked us what is in place, we had a bylaw for the soccer World Cup but it was eventspecific.

“We needed something more generic in order to safeguard the investments of sponsors [for these events].”

Ambush marketing was rife during the World Cup in 2010, with Nike making a viral video featuring several players, despite not being an official sponsor.

South African airline Kulula also flighted an advert identifying itself as the “Unofficial National Carrier of the YouKnow-What”, using pictures of stadiums and vuvuzelas.

However, if the new bylaw is passed at the next council meeting on May 24, this kind of marketing could result in a hefty fine or even imprisonment.

According to the bylaw, anyone found guilty of ambush marketing could be fined up to R10 000, or could be imprisoned for up to six months if they do not pay.

If the offence is continued, it would mean a fine of up to R15 000 or imprisonment of up to a year.

Meetings around the draft bylaw will continue today and conclude on May 4.

Baron said businesses and interested parties who did not attend the meetings, would be able to submit comments until May 14.

Comments can be e-mailed to Rebecca Gatang’i, at: rgatangi@mandelametro.gov.za

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