This summer, people are thinking about ways to support their country in the spirit of the 2012 Olympic Games. One way to celebrate the spirit of the games in the London Olympics is by displaying your own custom flags.
This year, at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, however, additional advertising rules exist that any sponsor hopeful should be aware of. First of all, there are 11 businesses that have been designated Olympic partners, world-wise; meaning they are the only sponsors allowed to promote their business with the world-wide Olympic advertising. There are also 7 additional partners, given the same privileges specific to the 2012 London Olympics. Every other advertiser is prohibited from capitalizing from the games within specific criteria which is mentioned further below.
Since 1995, the Olympic logo has been protected by international law. For 2012, the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act of 2006 has been the mandated legislation, leading to the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). Key components to be aware of include all of the rules designed to protect the Games’ official commercial sponsorships.
What all of this means is there are specific Olympic symbols, logo’s, and words which are prohibited to be used in advertising. The Olympic logo, for example, which includes the five rings and the 2012 logo are not allowed to be used with the words “Games” or “2012”. In addition, any combination of the above words with these words is prohibited: London, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Medals. Violating these rules is likely to attract the attention of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) which could incur a fine of up to £20,000.
In spite of these sponsorship rules, there are, however, some exceptions to the rules. One exception to the advertising regulations is when they do not apply to marketing or relate to publicizing a belief, a cause, or a campaign. In support of a cause or campaign, many people choose to attend Olympic events to support their country.
Individuals can create custom flags and banners online, for example, that include a design that conforms to the Olympic rules. This can be a business logo that you display alongside your country. It could also be, as noted above, a symbol that shows your belief, your cause, or a campaign.
There are also some businesses in London that have found creative ways to promote & advertise their business legally, by side-stepping these rules, i.e. without even mentioning the O-word. Such businesses have found an even further increased amount of advertising, based off their creative reputation. Many of these advertisers are well familiar with the specifics of the copyrights, but whatever the shade of grey is, be careful. After all, the Olympics are all about competition, and there's no copyright on that.
In the end, those fortunate enough to have obtained a contract from LOCOG must still adhere to some very specific marketing restrictions. Meanwhile, many others are figuring out that there's a difference between sponsorship & advertising, and discovering that sometimes they can have their cake and eat it too.