Thinking about jumping on the Olympics bandwagon? You may be breaking the law.

16th April 2012 By Louise Stephens in Legal

With businesses anticipating the arrival of the Olympic Games, many will be tempted to exploit this to promote their services and products. However with tightened legislation put in place, any association with the games can land you in hot water, even sending out an email campaign.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has revisited ‘The London Olympic Games And Paralympic Games Act 2006’ and ‘The Olympic Symbol etc Protection Act 1995’ to protect the Olympic brand and upcoming Games from any guerrilla marketing.

The law prohibits the use of anything remotely linked to Olympics including; words (written or spoken), sounds or images. As is the use of the Olympic colour combinations.
Phrases (used in conjunction)  that could all foul of the law:

  • Games
  • Two thousand and twelve
  • 2012
  • Twenty-Twelve
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Bronze
  • London
  • Medals
  • Sponsor/s
  • Summer

Also any references to the Olympic/Paralympic mottos or any words similar to ‘Olympic’, e.g. ‘Olympiad or Olympix’.

Images with references to the Olympics must also be used carefully, for example:

  • An image of an event from the Olympic Games
  • An image of the venue
  • A depiction of the Olympic/Paralympic logos, e.g. torch or rings logos

A comprehensive list of the do’s and don’ts is available from Olympic website.

Despite this very long list of don’ts and severe penalties in the pipeline, reporting on the Olympic Games is permitted and since the definition of ‘association’ is varied, regulating the legislation will be difficult. Another point of interest is the reach of the law. For example if your business is targeting international clients on a one to one basis, i.e. email, this does not fall under the rule of the legislation as it is outside the boundaries of the law.

This extreme ban on anything Olympic to prevent ambush marketing seems rather ridiculous due to the obvious enforcement issues. However if in doubt, keep it out of any business related activity, to ensure LOCOG doesn’t come after you!

For anyone, i.e. Olympic officials, questioning our use of references to the Olympics, this blog is intended for educational purposes only not explicit marketing! Eeek, see how difficult it is?

Louise Stephens
About the Author

Louise Stephens

Louise is an email marketing consultant at little green plane. She advises and builds lasting relationships with our existing clients as well as handling all new business. Louise also conducts full demonstrations of our software and will advise on the right package for your business. Louise is passionate about email marketing and will happily train clients on a number of topics including; best practice, engaging your audience and getting the best return on your investment.