Olympic Guidelines for Business Promotions

The Olympics is a very tempting time for marketers to offer competitions and promotions loosely aligned to the games… but beware!

Thanks to the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act (2006) and the Olympic Symbol (Protection) Act (1995) any such use is not a civil matter (as is usually the case with copyright infringement etc.) but a criminal one – your competition could be breaking the law and there is a team of LOCOG “Brand Police” who are very actively seeking infringing adverts, events and promotions.

We’ve produced a simple set of guidelines, based on the LOCOG brand guidelines, to try and help*

1) Do not use any of the trademarks, protected logos or marks:

Especially the ones protected by the Olympic Symbol (Protection) Act (1995):

2) Do not imply an association with London 2012:

“An association with London 2012 can be created by the use of any words, images or marks, or, more likely, a combination of these. For example: athletic images, representations of an Olympic style torch and flame, the colours of the Olympic rings, words or iconic images which evoke the spirit of the 2012 Games, and other representations relating to the Games may each contribute to the creation of an association with the 2012 Games.”

Especially the “Listed Expressions”:

“any two of the words in list A below
OR
any word in list A with one or more of the words in list B below:

A: Games, Two Thousand and Twelve, 2012, Twenty-Twelve
B: London, medals, sponsors, summer, gold, silver, bronze”

3) Do not promote or sponsor any marketing or promotional events/conferences themed around or focussed entirely on the games, inclusion as one section in a program amongst others is permitted.

4) Any reference to the games in a newsletter, briefing notes or internal memo should remain factual and should not suggest an association in any way (as above).

What is acceptable?

Genuine editorial pieces (not advertisement features) and factual information (“Due to road closures our distribution times will now be…”).

Here are a couple of clever campaigns, that avoid breaking the legislation:

Marks & Spencer – On Your Marks

Nike – Make it Count

*If you’re in any doubt at all, please contact your legal advisor. At this point I feel I must restate part of our website terms and conditions:

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2 comments

  1. Excellent summary of the legal issues around Olympic brand association. It’s the Twitter and FourSquare restrictions that I find quite amazing, these companies which work hard to operate in war zones and dictatorships have had to fall in to line for the Olympics, amazing.

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