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BizReport : Law & Regulation : September 24, 2008

2012 Olympics advertising restrictions "heavy handed"

If you are planning your 2012 Olympics advertising campaign and you intend to use a combination of such words as “medal”, “gold”, “summer” or even “game” then think again. The 2006 London Olympic Games and Paralympics Games Act won’t allow it.

by Helen Leggatt

london2012-logo.gifThe Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) in the U.K. is launching a new Agenda Paper to look at the “heavy handed” restrictions being put on the use of words related to the 2012 Olympics Games that non-Olympic sponsors can use. The paper, titled “The event that dare not speak its name”, calls the move “draconian”.

The restrictions have been put in place by the U.K. government to stop “ambush marketing”, said a spokesman for the Olympics Act, where those organizations that haven’t sponsored the event use related marketing to increase exposure.

The CIM disagrees with the government. "If the 2006 Act has been designed to defeat ambush marketing, it has been executed in a heavy-handed, blanket way that fails to give allowance to the (by Olympic standards) minuscule efforts of small and medium-sized companies to gain some benefit from the presence of the Games," says the paper.

Research by the CIM found that 42% of British organizations are planning Olympic-related marketing activities. Worryingly, 40% said they had no understanding of the Act’s provisions and a further 46% said their understanding was poor or fairly poor. That leaves just 14% of businesses who are in-the-know.

The penalty for breaking the terms of the Act could result in fines of around $37,000.

Tags: advertising, Olympics, online advertising

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