Take care with your marketing during the Olympics

I’ve just received an email from a small business that could land them in a lot of hot water with the Olympic authorities. The email uses the Olympic rings and the phrase London 2012 both of which are trademarked and can only be used by key sponsors of the Games.

With the Opening Ceremony just 24 hours away and the excitement building to fever

The Olympic flame burns brightly in Ealing.

pitch it is quite understandable that businesses want to join in the celebrations but there are good reasons why the Olympic brand is so fiercely protected. Big businesses pay millions in sponsorship for the Olympics and that gives them the right to be associated with the brand under very strict guidelines. If anybody could just use the Olympic brand it would be devalued and there would be no incentives for sponsors to put their hands deep into their pockets.

We should all be protective of our brands. They are what makes us unique and distinguishable from everyone else. We should think about what our brand comprises of and who or what we want to associate with and we should take care not to compromise our brands by breaking the law even if it is by mistake or ignorance.

As small businesses we can join in the celebrations of the Games but we have to be a bit more creative and a bit more subtle about how we do it. We can display our national flag, use red, white and blue, support Team GB or talk about ‘the Games’. To be sure that your marketing doesn’t break the law check out the guidelines at  For more information on what is and is not allowed visit http://www.london2012.com/about-us/our-brand/using-the-brand/

So Good Luck Team GB, here’s to your most successful Games ever.


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