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SBD/July 25, 2012/Olympics
Nike's Latest Olympic Ad Campaign Cleverly Avoids Claims Of Ambush Marketing
Published July 25, 2012
I SEE LONDON, I SEE FRANCE: The GUARDIAN's Sweney notes Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is seeking a court order against LOCOG "in a bid to stop a billboard ad campaign from being taken down." LOCOG plans to have the ads "removed for breaching strict rules on ambush marketing of the event by brands that are not official sponsors." The campaign was "rolled out across the capital on Monday through a deal with outdoor advertising company JCDecaux." Ads also have "appeared in newspapers including Metro, City AM and the Evening Standard." The ads proclaim Paddy Power as the: "Official sponsor of the largest athletics event in London this year! There you go, we said it." They then go on to "reveal that it is of an egg and spoon race to be held in the French town of London" (GUARDIAN, 7/25). A Paddy Power spokesperson said of LOCOG, "It's a pity they didn't put the same energy in to the ticketing and security arrangements for the Games that they put into protecting their sponsorship revenue streams" (London TELEGRAPH, 7/25).
CREATING PUBLIC OUTRAGE: USA TODAY's Traci Watson reports the enforcement of rules protecting Olympics sponsors "has provoked a wave of public outrage, uniting both ends of the political spectrum and Olympic fans and Olympic detractors alike." London-based marketing firm Synergy CEO Tim Crow said that while rules are "necessary to protect sponsors, the enforcement has been a public relations disaster for London." Britain's rules "warn that the use of the words 'London,' 'summer' or 'gold,' along with 'Games' or '2012,' could violate the rights" of LOCOG (USA TODAY, 7/25). Former IOC Marketing Dir Michael Payne said when the ambush marketing rules are applied overzealously, "It's backlashing to the sponsors. People want to know, why are they being so suffocating and strict?" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/25). Payne predicted that the “overbearing overreach of Olympic organizers and their allies in government in order to protect what are, in effect, monopolies, could hurt the Olympic movement and come back to haunt the sponsors.” Payne said, "I have said to LOCOG and the IOC, 'I think you're scoring an own goal here.' The controls and measures have gone too far when it is starting to suffocate local street traders" (POSTMEDIA NEWS, 7/25).