Planning a PyeongChang 2018 Olympics Promotion? Check The Guidelines First.
Update: See our updated guidelines for the Tokyo Summer Olympics.
The next Winter Olympic Games will be in PyeongChang, South Korea, from Friday, February 9, 2018 to Sunday, February 25, 2018. This may seem like a great reason to run a promotion, but you might want to think again. The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), in tandem with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have already lined up sponsors of the games. If you are not a Worldwide Sponsor already, like Coca-Cola, Alibaba Group, Atos, Bridgestone, Dow, General Electric, Intel, Omega, Panasonic, Proctor & Gamble, Samsung, Toyota and VISA are, or a PyeongChang Partner, Sponsor or Supplier, or a Team USA Sponsor or Licensee, or if you don’t already have a deal with an Olympic athlete, then you may want to rethink any kind of Olympics promotion, or be very cautious when proceeding.
Because if you aren’t one of those companies listed above, and you aren’t working on a last minute sponsorship deal or already have a promotional deal in place with an Olympic athlete, the use of any names or logos or images associated with the Olympics or Olympic athlete is not allowed and is considered “ambush marketing.”
The Olympic Marks and Imagery Usage Handbook defines ambush marketing as “a planned attempt by a third party to associate itself directly or indirectly with the Olympic Games to gain the recognition and benefits associated with being an Olympic Marketing Partner.”
In the United States, the “USOC” and the “IOC” are the only organizations legally able to license the use of the Olympic indicia, trademarks and slogans and other intellectual property. The USOC is a Federal Government Chartered Corporation and it has the government-backed legal power to come down on any and all brands that fail to abide by guidelines.
This means you can’t use any Olympic related logo or image in your creative.
You can’t even do a simple sweeps to give away tickets to the Olympics and say, “Enter for a chance to win a trip to the games in PyeongChang in 2018!”
- Prohibiting the use of the following words: “games,” “two thousand and eighteen,” “2018,” or “twenty eighteen” together, or combined with “gold,” “silver,” “bronze,” “PyeongChang,” “South Korea,” “medals,” “sponsor,” or “winter” in advertising (by non-sponsors) or on products/merchandise when used in a context that could suggest an association with the 2018 Olympic Games.
- Barring non-sponsors from buying promoted ads with hashtags like #Pyeongchang2018 or similar.
Expect the 2018 Olympics to have equally stringent rules as what was seen before. To enforce the marks, the USOC solicits help with affiliated local host committees and the IOC. Hundreds of cases exist where cease and desist orders have been sent to immediately halt any unauthorized use. Many of these have been accompanied by lawsuits where infringement of Olympic symbols has occurred.
If you aren’t sure if your promotion idea or creative concept would be considered ambush marketing then contact us. We can help you evaluate it and make recommendations to help you avoid a lawsuit or pursue an alternative promotion plan.
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