Airborne ambush marketing at major sporting and entertainment events in Western Australia could soon be illegal, with penalties of up to $250,000 under legislation introduced into Parliament today.
Sport and Recreation Minister John Kobelke said major events were increasingly subject to the practice of ‘ambush’ or ‘parasite’ marketing through aerial advertising, with the promoted products often in direct competition with an official sponsor of an event.
“The potential impact of ambush marketing through aerial advertising on event organisers is significant, with many events highly dependent on sponsorship for their viability,” Mr Kobelke said.
“This practice is essentially an underhanded way for marketers to display their products and it is unfair that organisers are currently unable to stop such predatory behaviour.
“There is currently no mechanism available to event organisers in WA to provide surety and comfort to their sponsors that their product has some exclusivity.”
The Major Events (Aerial Advertising) Bill 2008 would ban activities including sky-writing and advertising (other than normal markings) attached to aircraft such as blimps, planes, hang gliders and hot air balloons.
Legislation has previously been enacted in Australia to protect singular events such as the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 and the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006, with other jurisdictions having since provided further strengthening of legislation or introduced new protections.
Major sporting codes, particularly Cricket Australia, have been proactively seeking legislative protection across Australia to prevent the open abuse of the commercial sponsorship arrangements.
“The Major Events (Aerial Advertising) Bill 2008 will provide for the regulation, management and control of aerial advertising at major events in WA,” Mr Kobelke said.
“It will ensure that the rights and privileges of the sponsors of major events in WA will be protected at law and will provide a further incentive to a sponsor to continue to invest in major events and associated activities in this State.”
Matters covered in the Bill include:
· an application process to have an event or series of events to be covered by the legislation approved by the responsible Minister;
· the criteria upon which an event can be declared including considerations such as size, media coverage and economic benefit; and
· remedies available to event organisers and government before, during and after significant events for breaches of the Act, including financial penalties and civil remedies.
“It is hoped that this legislation will add to the attractiveness for sponsors of major sporting, arts and other entertainment events to either continue or consider conducting their activities in WA,” the Minister said.
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