GTBANK Spoof via Linkedin
Few weeks to the kickoff of the Rio Olympics games 2016, the IOC enforced its infamous Rule 40 of the Olympic charter which states that “Except as permitted by the IOC Executive board, no competitor, coach, trainer or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games.” These rules came into play, nine days prior to the opening ceremony (July 27 th, 2016) and will continue to apply until three days after the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympics games. (August 24 th, 2016). This came as a shock to most brands and marketers who were already prepping for killer ads for the Rio Olympics games?!
“Rule 40 was reawakened to sanitize and preserve the unique nature of the Olympics games by preventing Over-commercialization and also to allow the focus remain on the athletics This implies that non-sponsors of the event all over the world are not permitted to use certain terms, symbols, logos and phrases that are trademarks of Olympics in any of their communication.”
This was part of the statements revealed to the press and social media but ‘nay’ we dug deeper!
The international Olympics committee requires each host country to create special trademark protection laws which countries like the USA have done.Brands like GE, Coca-Cola, Samsung, McDonald’s where endorsed in the United states and UK, Visa Card, Etisalat and HipTV had the juicy contract for Nigeria . Conversely the International Olympic Committee was set to unleash legal actions on non-sponsors who used any trademarked element from the Olympics in their communication. This kind of tough restraints have never happened before (or non we have documented) in the history of the Olympics.
FLASHBACK: (20years ago) Summer Olympics, Atlanta July 29, 1996.
Sprinter Michael Johnson took the gold in the 400-meter dash after finishing in 43.49 seconds flashing past his competitors with the speed of a bullet.
This history was made in a $30k gold spike shoe worn by Michael Johnson which was custom made for that event by NIKE! Few days later Nike put up a cover page spot in Times magazine headlining Michael Johnson with the Golden Nike spike shoes slung around his neck-absolutely brilliant and well timed piece of advertising!!
However a clause came with this viral ad view for Nike’s product on Michael Johnson?! NIKE WASN’T AN OLYMPIC SPONSOR!!
Instead of paying for an official sponsorship, Nike decided it could get its brand into the 1996 games in other ways—and Johnson’s gold shoes were just agent for that ambush mission.
It was learnt that the brand opened an outsized “Nike Centre” right beside the athletes’ village. Nike also distributed flags to fans, guaranteeing that its swoosh logo would be in full view all over the property.
A hurt competing brand goes on vengeance:
Reebok had been known to be a rival brand to Nike. Business feuds date back to 2012 where Reebok had lost a mulitmillion dollar deal to Nike in Tim Tebow apparel merchandise contract. Read more here and here. It could also be recalled that Nike was ropped into jersey sponsorship frauds and kickbacks in last year (2015 World Cup bids for the 2022 World cup hosting rights) which saw FIFA chief Sepp Blatter, Michel Plattini, Rob Texierra, Jack Turner and a host of others sacked and facing trials. The hosting rights was tipping towards UK, however rights went to Qatar in an event that appeared untransparent to international observers and the FBI. Read more about the FIFA Sepp Blatter scandal here.
Reebok which had hussled up over $50 million to become an official sponsor for the Rio Olympics 2016 wouldn’t let this slide without a good fight.
What’s more, according to veteran sports marketer and Columbia University professor Joe Favorito, Nike’s marketing shenanigans were largely responsible for Olympic officials taking a hard line on nonsponsoring brands getting anywhere near the Olympics in their marketing.
(The United States Olympic Committee did not respond to correspondent’s request for comment for this story.)
What Nike did in Atlanta 20 years ago, Favorito said, “directly resulted in the much more stringent guidelines that both the IOC and the USOC have out there today. Anyone who goes over the line will be pushed back.”
If the IOC is showing its teeth to transgressor brands today, it cut those teeth in 1996. But even though Nike did manage to get lots of cheap media exposure from its ambush marketing, the brand didn’t exactly come out of Atlanta a winner.
Nike’s marketing had a distinctively abrasive edge to it. For example, the brand’s magazine ads blared: “If you’re not here to win, you’re a tourist.” Nike also bought billboards space all over Atlanta to announce: “You don’t win silver, you lose gold.”
To some members of the public, such talk ran contrary to the spirit of good sportsmanship.
“Nike took a lot of flack for that campaign,” Andrews said. “It wasn’t in the spirit of the games. There’s a lot of consumer love for the Olympics and the athletes, and that [marketing] just crossed the line for a lot of people.”
Those people included many of the athletes and, of course, the USOC itself. Michael Payne was the marketing coordinator for the Olympics that year. As Payne recounts in his 2012 book Olympic Turnaround : “Athletes, who had devoted their life to training and just getting to the Olympics, were angry at being positioned as ‘failures.’ … We weren’t going to sit back and let Nike’s ambush marketing undermine and trash the very spirit and essence of the Olympic ideal.”
By Payne’s account, the USOC was prepared to round up a bunch of silver medalists to speak out against Nike publicly, and drew the brand into a closed-door meeting that nearly came to physical blows. Nike softened its tactics, Payne suggests, after realizing that its “campaign was backfiring” and by the time the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney came around, the brand “showed it was an Olympic convert” by becoming an official sponsor.
According to Po Yi, an advertising attorney with the New York firm of Venable LLP, “Nike realized that, after the IOC tightened the rules, they could no longer do ambush marketing.”
Not surprisingly, Nike’s version of events doesn’t give as much credit to the iron hand of the Olympic Committee. According to Nike spokesperson Charlie Brooks, Nike signed on as a sponsor for the 2000 Sydney games largely because Reebok pulled out of its deal at the last minute.
“I don’t think our entire sponsorship strategy has changed as a result of what happened in Atlanta in 1996,” Brooks said.
As for its easing up on its mercenary tone and tactics, “Nike has built a brand on, to some extent, edgy advertising and brand image,” Brooks said. “And certainly at that time, we were pushing the envelope in terms of those ideas. We continue to have an irreverent edge to us, but we’re aware of the need to do that in the framework of events like the Olympics.”
These days, brands thinking of ambushing the games have to contend with a set of rules made stricter in large part as a consequence of the 1996 games. “The list of no-no’s has gotten much longer,” says Yi, “and that’s partly because of the effective ways that brands including Nike have engaged in ambush marketing through the years.”
Yi adds, though, that the IOC has recently loosened up on its Rule 40, which now grants brands that sponsor individual athletes a chance to work with them during the games—even though it retains the ironclad prohibitions against using the Olympics rings and logos, or and even words including “victory,” “summer,” and “gold.”
Meanwhile, now that Nike is an official part of the Olympic family, it no longer needs to resort to the kind of guerrilla marketing tactics that got it so much attention two decades back. Clearly, though, Nike hasn’t forgotten the Atlanta games and all the attention—good and bad—the brand got there.
Few weeks ago, Nike unveiled the limited-edition Nike Air Trainer SC High a $140, gold and teal-colored retro shoe themed after, that’s right, the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Watch Nike’s Unlimited together Ad here Endorsed by Chance da rapper:
Download Chance da rappers unlimited together Mp3 here
Here is a list of keywords Brands and businesses can’t use for the period of 2016 Rio Olympics games.
Go for the gold
Let the games begin
Road to Rio
Road to Pyeongchang
Road to Tokyo
Brands must not also use words that incorporate the word “Olympic,” such as Mathlympics, Aqualympics, Chicagolympics, Radiolympics, etc.
Brands can’t use hashtags that include Olympics trademarks such as #TeamNigeria or #Rio2016.
Brands cannot use any official Olympics logos, post any photo taken at the Olympics.
Brands can’t feature Olympic athletes in your social posts- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.,Brands can’t even wish them luck.
Brands can’t post any Olympics results.
Brands can’t share anything from official Olympics social media accounts. Even retweets are prohibited.
Brands can’t create their own version of Olympic symbols, “whether made from your own logo, triangles, hexagons, soda bottle tops, onion rings, car tires, drink coasters, basketballs, etc.”
Compiled and edited by: Jimmy Adesanya
Additional credits: Adweek
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