The brand and vision for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games was launched back in London on the 4th of June, 2007. by a team of London 2012 ambassadors.
We are approaching the end of the Olympic games, and there is still a large deal of controversy over the role of branding, and why business or corporations cannot use Olympic trademark phrases, logos fonts etc.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, (LOCOG), set in place some very strict and encroaching regulations to protect official sponsors of the games.
Allow me to Explain…
|Back in 1995, the Olympic Symbol (Protection) Act was created exclusively for the London 2012 games, setting in place a variety of remarkably aggressive guidelines that prevented business or corporations ie. non-sponsors from using Olympic visuals or wording.
Seem a little too harsh? Try to understand why these harsh regulations were put in place.
If anyone was allowed to use the Olympic logo, or declare themselves as ‘sponsors’, wheres the motivation for Visa or McDonalds to spend millions and millions of dollars becoming an official sponsor, when they could run they’re own campaigns and just steal the Olympic visuals? Without some sort of safeguard to prevent athletes, organizers, Olympic workers and even visitors to post a photo of their Nike shoes inside an Olympic venue or share a video buying lunch in the Olympic village using their Amex card, Adidas and Visa most definitely would not agree to sponsor the games.
The fact is that strict guidelines were set in place to protect the sponsors who have invested millions — about $800m total has been invested by sponsors. And yes the commercials are annoying, but the truth is without the sponsors money, there would be no Olympics… unless you’re willing to fork over close to a billion dollars.
Brand protection guidelines
Many businesses have had to read the London 2012’s UK statutory marketing rights and LOCOG’s London 2012 Brand Protection Guidelines in order to further their grasp on what is and isn’t acceptable regarding the use of Olympic taglines, logos and branding. Between the two documents, there is over 100 pages of extreme detail on every single angle. LOCOG put together one of the most detailed and strict brand protection guidelines I’ve ever seen, and they’re sure using it.
A UK flower shop, was ordered to remove Olympic rings because it was breaching trademark laws. The 33 year old florist was told by LOCOG officials that if the rings were not taken down immediately, she face legal action by official sponsor Coco Cola — even though the Olympic relay will not pass her store.
Mum-of-three Lisa said: “I just couldn’t believe it when these two officers turned up and said I was breaking the law.
“They said Coca Cola owns the copyright of the Olympic ring design because they are the official sponsors, and they would sue me.
“I’m only a little business, and being sued by a huge company like them would wipe me out — it’s terrifying.
“One of the officers even told me he liked the display, but that it would have to go.
“I was just trying to help people get into the Olympic spirit — I haven’t used it to advertise my own products, I was just trying to support Team GB.”
If your fearful of breaking the infringement laws, and don’t want to read 100 pages of legal documents, just remember that all of the official names, phrases, trade marks, logos and designs related to the 2012 Games and the Olympic, known as Games’ marks, are off limits.
Copyright infringement, stay away from these official symbols:
The protected London 2012 Olympic logos, symbols, typography, mascots and pictograms. Taken from LOCOG’s London 2012 Brand Protection Guidelines
All the below words are also protected under strict copyright rules.
- The phrase ‘London 2012′
- The words ‘Olympic’, ‘Olympiad’, ‘Olympian’ (and their plurals and words very similar to them – e.g. ‘Olympix’)
- The words ‘Paralympic’, ‘Paralympiad’, ‘Paralympian’ (and their plurals and words very similar to them – e.g. ‘Paralympix)
- The Olympic Motto: ‘Citius Altius Fortius’ / ‘Faster Higher Stronger’
- The Paralympic Motto: ‘Spirit in Motion’
- london2012.com (and various derivatives)
The London 2012 brand guidelines include a variety of examples of what is acceptable, and what will infringe on copyright. Below is an example taken from LOCOG’s London 2012 Brand Protection Guidelines.
So it seems the entire world and everyone in it is not allowed to draw the Olympic rings on the back of their dirty cars anymore. Many people say that LOCOG is dampening the Olympic spirit. Regardless of weather this is true or not, the only companies allowed to utilize the Olympic visuals are those below, or the ones listed on the London 2012 website.
London 2012 Olympic Games partners.
Is LOCOG simply trying to protect the games, and keep the sponsors that make them possible, or is it British greed trying to bring in maximum revenue and publicity?