2012 Olympics: What You Can’t Do

By Scott Gilbert

Perhaps you’ve read this article from Adage about the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and their new “crackdowns” for the Olympics.  Because of the multi-billions of dollars that brands are spending (i.e. McDonalds and Coca-Cola), these brands are demanding an extreme level of exclusivity.So this one makes sense:

“a 35-day, one-kilometer Brand Exclusion Zone will be enforced around all Olympic venues, inside which no brands that compete with official sponsor brands can advertise.” I get that. Fair enough. You pay a billion dollars, you get that right. But here’s where it gets ridiculous:

“Spectators wearing competitor-branded clothing, or consuming unofficial food or drink choices, or even trying to pay with the wrong credit card, will not be welcome.”

This reminds me of the 2006 World Cup with Bavaria (an unofficial beer company). They included orange Lederhosen with its beer and encouraged fans to wear them for support. They had the beer’s logo on them, which infuriated InBev executives and FIFA officials, who made the fans remove their pants before entering the stadium. And again in 2010, when the same brewery used female models to sport the brand. You can read more on these events here.

When those stories broke, I had to ask myself: Was it more detrimental to the brand for FIFA and Budweiser to raise hell on this or in the long run was this a good PR move – setting a precedent of enforcement? At the time, I was on the fence about it.

Now, the precedent has taken an extreme turn:

“Even social media — which most brands have long since given up trying to police — is not free from Olympic control. Twitter shut down the account of satirical activist group Space Hijackers after LOCOG complained about the use of its logo (while also claiming it did not mind the content).”

Or this one:

“Athletes are also under strict social-media observation. They cannot upload pictures or footage, and/ or post reports about their own—or anyone else’s—performance.”

Or how about this one:

“Technically, nobody is allowed to even post a picture or video on social media if it has been taken at an Olympic event. But whether Twitter and Facebook users around the world know or care about these restrictions remains to be seen.”

I feel as if the precedent is being taken to an extreme now. How do you police the internet and social media?

You know those pre-roll videos before movies? The ones that tell you to turn off your cell phone – I can’t imagine what the pre-roll for the Olympics opening ceremony is going to be like. Can you say mood-ruiner?

So, back to that question, is this helpful or detrimental to a brand, such as Olympics or McDonalds? I expect this social media one to not be enforced, but time will tell.

Image courtesy of BBC

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