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Ambush marketing guru sticks to his guns

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Ambush marketer Kym Illman says that his win in a court case yesterday has clarified the laws around ambush marketing.

The Perth entrepreneur, who uses ambush marketing to advertise his company Messages on Hold, was recently fined $100 by the Perth City Council for displaying a sign without a license.

Illman had hired a bloke to hold up a cardboard cut out of Shane Warne at the cricket last summer.

Illman says he spent over $40,000 fighting the $100 fine because of the “principle”. “It could mean that anyone wandering around in a tee-shirt with a logo could be fined,” he says.

But West Australian Supreme Court judge Andrew Beech found the law did not regulate advertising using “clothing, carry bags or vehicles”.

Both sides were ordered to pay their own costs and the City of Perth says it will enforce its $100 fine. Illman says he still won’t pay it.

Illman says that means he might not be able to use the cardboard cut out again, but he could use a large umbrella or shopping bag to carry the image of Shane and his Messages on Hold ad.

“The good thing about the court case is that the rules on ambush marketing are now a lot clearer,” Illman told SmartCompany this morning.

He says ambush marketing is getting harder as people are more aware of it. “I am asked by clients to start a business in ambush marketing, but it is too to get the people to do it,” he says.

“Chas on Chaser is an ideal ambush marketer, because he doesn’t care. But most people when told they can’t stand there, agree and walk off,” he says.

He says the $40,000 court costs will not prevent him making a profit. “I have spent 18 years building this magnificent model of a business and we are very profitable,” he says.

His main marketing tool is now word-of-mouth. But watch out for the stuntman this Friday. He is wrapping a girl in 125 model tyres, three centimetres in diameter, and putting her in the Minardi pit at the Gold Coast Indy next to a driver advertising Minardi – and of course Messages on Hold.

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