Olympics to fight ambush marketing
16 July, 2012
Olympic authorities are planning a lockdown on unauthorized ‘ambush’ marketing related to the Games—as official sponsors including McDonald’s get their campaigns underway.
With less than two weeks to go until the start of the Games, the Olympics Delivery Authority has hired around 250 people to spot examples of marketing activity that makes unauthorized links to the Olympic Games. They will mostly be on patrol in London, but will visit other cities that are hosting Olympic events including Cardiff and Manchester. They will also be looking for unlicensed traders on streets around Olympic venues.
Marketing teams face a minefield if they want to get around restrictions on Olympic connections, with rules in place to stop mention of related words like gold and London. The ODA says the restrictions are in place to protect the rights of official sponsors who pay around £1.4bn between them to be associated with the Games.
Negotiations with Twitter to help prevent ambush marketing on the social networking platform are also ongoing—but it remains to be seen exactly how much activity can be policed given that these are the first Olympics of the Twitter era.
• McDonald’s has meanwhile launched what promises to be the biggest marketing campaigns of the year in the eating-out or just about any other sector. Its Olympic activity includes filmed material and user generated content, as well as a series of outdoor ads currently running across London that highlight the role of the public in the Olympics, with the strapline ‘We All Make the Games’.
McDonald’s is preparing to run its biggest ever restaurant at the Olympic Park as part of its association with the Games. But the chain has come under fire in some quarters for requesting that it is the only Olympic catering venue that will be able to serve chips. A memo reported by the Daily Mail said: “Due to sponsorship obligations with McDonald’s, Locog have instructed the catering team they are no longer allowed to serve chips on their own anywhere within the Olympic Park. The only loophole to this is if it is served with fish.”