The summer Olympic and Paralympic Games are just around the corner, and as brands found with London four years ago, there can be a tricky minefield of regulations and laws to navigate when conducting your marketing efforts.
In this article we’ve broken down the official brand and advertising guidelines for Rio 2016 into five key areas we think are most important. For more detail, be sure to check out the full official guide which you can find here.
Please note, Hit Search Limited is in no way associated with the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games and this article is a statement of facts regarding the published brand protection guidelines laid out by the Rio 2016 committee and the IOC.
Use of Athlete’s Names and Image
As laid out in Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter:
“Except as permitted by the IOC Executive Board no competitor, coach, trainer or official who participates in the Olympic or Paralympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performance to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games.”
Within the official Rio 2016 guidelines version two this is expanded on to state that these restrictions not only apply during the competition period but 15 days before and after competition.
Despite this, one positive for current personal sponsors of athletes is that a recent document from the IOC and Rio 2016 states that existing marketing campaigns containing an athlete can be continued during the Games. This is as long as an application is completed by the athlete and is approved by a National Olympic Committee or the IOC. Such campaigns should not imply in any way a commercial connection with any Olympic property.
You can find more details on Rule 40 and learn how athletes can apply for personal sponsors advertising during the competition period here.
Promotion and Advertising
It is completely forbidden to use any Rio 2016 brands (which can be found here) as a theme or focus for any promotion, advert or competition in which a direct association with the Games is implied.
Blogs, Social Media and Editorial use
In the case of blogs and social media, it is possible to use the Rio 2016 brands for illustration within the correct context, as long as the content is created with an editorial/journalistic or cultural/popular purpose.
However in instances where such an article is featured on a website containing advertising space which is given to a non-official sponsor, a warning must be clearly visible stating that such advertisers are in no way connected to Rio 2016, the Olympic or Paralympic Games.
Merchandising and Promotional Products
The official guidelines are plain and simple with regards to merchandising and promotional products; stating that it is forbidden to use Rio 2016 brands in the production of any type of product for the purpose of promotion, and commerce.
In terms of events hosted by your business and tied to the Rio 2016 Games, the IOC supports and encourages discussion and debate about the Games. However there are a number of guidelines that need to be followed for how such events should be conducted so as not to infringe on the rights of any of the official sponsors.
- You cannot use protected expressions such as: ‘Olympic’, ‘Olympic Games’, and ‘Rio 2016’ to name events organised by your business or to imply that your event is part of the official Rio 2016 programme.
- Prior consent needs to be gained from the Rio 2016 committee to allow the use of logos and symbols on any promotional or presentation material used for your event.
- All materials produced for your event must clearly state that there is no official connection or endorsement by Rio 2016.
- If your event includes sponsors who are not official Rio 2016 sponsors then you must clearly state on any event material that the sponsors are not related to the Rio 2016 Games.
As you can see, unless your business is an official sponsor of the 2016 Games it may be safer to just stay away from any marketing efforts linked to Rio. But if you do plan on tying your efforts into the Games then hopefully these guidelines will help you avoid any legal pitfalls.