The Olympics are an international spectator event. Millions, if not billions, of people worldwide will follow the competition. There’s a true sense in which everyone on the planet has a little ownership. But sadly, the IOC and USOC have opted to adopt powerful tactics to create Olympic sponsorships more precious.
Effectively, these associations have said that they will pursue commercial entities using Olympic intellectual property and that aren’t official Olympic sponsors. The apparent objective is to make sponsoring the Olympics more precious, because only Olympic sponsors will have the ability to use the phrase,”Olympic,” or use other Olympic phrases and graphics.
Based on an ESPN report, the USOC has already started to warn some American companies to not post about the Olympics.
How Not to Mention the Olympics
The USOC and IOC appear to be attempting to avoid any possible use of the Olympics. In accordance with a report on Adweek, marketers should avoid the following.
- Mentioning Olympic phrases or words , such as Olympic, Olympian, Paralympic, Rio 2016, Road to Rio, or comparable.
- Incorporating the word Olympic to other words, so no Matholympics.
- Working with any Olympic words in hashtags, i.e., #Rio2016, #TeamUSA.
- Implementing Olympic vision , thus no Olympic trademarks and no photos taken at the Olympics.
- Naming Olympic athletes, so please do not mention Michael Phelps on social networking. Do not even wish him luck.
- Describing Olympic results, companies can’t even say who won a trophy.
How the Olympic Committees Can Stifle Content, Speech
Most companies would agree it is reasonable to not use Olympic logos and that sponsors that have paid plenty of money ought to be protected. But there’s a substantial difference between protecting a symbol and telling businesses they can’t mention the word”Olympics” or want a favourite athlete great luck on Facebook.
Imagine, as an instance, what type of response you’d get if the National Football League unexpectedly said that only official sponsors may use the phrase”Super Bowl” on social networking or in content advertising?
By means of comparison, would it be appropriate for the NFL to prevent Martha Stewart from publishing Super Bowl chicken wing recipes?
What is the answer if the NFL delivered a cease-and-desist letter to Martha Stewart for publishing Super Bowl chicken wing recipes? How could it be if the NFL sued a local pizzeria in Seattle for posting #GoSeahawks on Twitter? These things seem absurd. Nonetheless, this is exactly what the USOC and the IOC do.
What is more, these Olympic committees can probably apply this level of trademark protection. The IOC needs any nation that wishes to sponsor the Olympics to pass particular national trademark laws that offer stronger than normal limitations on the use of Olympic trademarks and emblems.
The provision which applies in America is U.S. Code 36, Subtitle II, Part B Chapter 2205, Subchapter I. This law allows the USOC to sue companies using Olympic trademarks”for the purpose of commerce, to induce the sale of any goods or services, or to promote any theatrical exhibition, athletic performance, or competition.”
This provision has existed for quite a long time. The difference is that previously the USOC hasn’t attempted to apply it to social media or articles marketing this way. The bottom line today is that companies will need to be quite careful about how they use or cite the Olympics.
Sorry, Bad Advice
For the last few months, I have been advocating that you use the Olympics on your content advertising. In actuality, I explicitly mentioned it in four posts.
In my defense, in every post I invited you to abide by trademark laws and all these were printed before the USOC and the IOC began discouraging social websites and articles advertising posts. I thought you could use the Olympics on your content marketing in precisely the identical way that you may use the World Cup or the Super Bowl.
Given these new developments as well as the letters that the USOC has sent to a few businesses, it might be best to refrain from mentioning the Olympics altogether.
News media and people may still cite and utilize Olympic trademarks. Thus, this article about the Olympic trademarks isn’t an infringement since it’s published on a media website. But it’s not clear whether this specific post, written word-for-word, could be problematic if it had been printed on a blog which belonged to an online store, for instance.