As the London 2012 Olympic Games creep closer the Games’ organising committee has promised to crack down on ambush marketing to protect its advertising sponsors.
In a letter sent out to ad and media agencies the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Limited (LOCOG) said it will be “vigilant in protecting our rights”.
Adam Hodge, head of strategy for sports marketing firm Octagon, said “this is by far the strictest the international and local committee has been on ambush marketing”.
Brands spend tens of millions of dollars for the right to associate themselves with the Olympic Games but, in the past, advertisers have attempted to link themselves to the Games for free.
The LOCOG letter from earlier this year details the rules surrounding the use of the Olympic Symbol, Olympic words and motto, images of London and use of athletes and coaches.
The letter also warns brands off “generic campaigns” that may evolve to deliver a strong Olympic link and press releases leveraging the Games.
“Our priority has always been to avoid and prevent infringements of our rights through the provision of information, but we are obliged to take incidents of ambush marketing very seriously.”
“Where necessary, we will address infringements appropriately and quickly, especially when conducted by competitors of our partners.”
Hodge said the “really firmly worded cease and desist” style notice is “forcing brands to be more creative”.
Hodge said Red Bull is a brand which has no official Olympic link but has managed to form an association by “very creatively working on the fringe”.
Red Bull has supported pole-vaulter Steve Hooker’s Olympic bid and has produced a documentary ‘Steve Hooker: Raising the Bar’ about the process.
Similarly, at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics the brand launched Red Bull Project X for snowboarder Shaun White.
Hodge said official sponsors of the Games which start their Olympic activities near the launch of the Games are more vulnerable to ambush tactics.