The London 2012 Summer Olympics are right around the corner (beginning July 27 and running through August 12). The official Olympics Twitter account already has more than 660,000 followers (and counting) and the games haven’t even begun. Suffice it to say, there’s a lot of excitement.

Have you considered leveraging the Olympics theme for your email and social media marketing? Before you race off to get started, don’t get tripped up on a hurdle, because there are many rules governing the use of Olympic terms, themes, etc.

Thanks to Tia Fisher from Social Media Today for authoring one of the most extensive posts I have seen on the legal rules, as well as the Marketing Donut. We’ve now got a list of restricted signs, images, terms and phrases associated with the Olympics that you should avoid including:

  • The Olympic Symbol
  • The Paralympic Symbol
  • The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Emblems
  • The London 2012 mascots
  • The words ‘London 2012’
  • The words ‘Olympic’, ‘Olympiad’, ‘Olympian’ (plurals and similar words included, e.g., ‘Olympix’)
  • The words ‘Paralympic’, ‘Paralympiad’, ‘Paralympian’ (plurals and similar words included, e.g., ‘Paralympix’)
  • The words ‘games’, ‘two thousand and twelve’, ‘2012’ and ‘twenty twelve’ (list A) which may not be used in combination with each other or with ‘gold’, ‘silver’, ‘bronze’, ‘London’, ‘medals’, ‘sponsor’ or ‘summer’ (list B).
  • The Olympic Motto: ‘Citius Altius Fortius’ / ‘Faster Higher Stronger’
  • The Paralympic Motto: ‘Spirit in Motion’
  • The Team GB logo
  • The Paralympics GB logo
  • The British Olympic Association logo
  • The British Paralympic Association logo
  • (and various derivatives)
  • The London 2012 sports pictograms

And our friends at Social Media Today covered the bases from a social media perspective here.

If following all these rules seems harder than qualifying to compete in the Olympics, you may be right, but we have a few ideas to leverage the hype and have some fun.

Medal Sale – Do: Create a summer sale and create price tiers based on Bronze, Silver and Gold. Don’t: Call it an Olympics Sale or refer to the Medals as Olympic Medals.

Beat the Clock – Do: Put a countdown clock in your shop and/or incorporate one on your website. Only run your sale until the clock stops to provide a sense of urgency. You can find fun countdown timers for your site here thanks to Movable Ink. Don’t: Call it an Olympics Countdown.

Score! – Do: Offer a mystery sale in which a customer clicks on your offer and a “judge” holds up a score – the score determines the % off. Don’t: Have the sale refer to the Olympics.

Opening Ceremony – Do: Host a party or event for the opening ceremony. This year’s theme is Isles of Wonder. Give everyone a special discount that day if they mention the theme. Don’t: Sponsor London 2012 broadcasts or reports.

Sports Theme – Do: If your business is tied to a specific summer sport, you’ve got an easy theme. Promote summer sport products or activities if applicable, as they’ll be top of mind and in the spotlight. Don’t: (Per our friends at Social Media Today) “Mention a specific product or service in connection with the Olympics.”

Get Social – Do: “Use your social media strategies to enjoy the events. Use Facebook, your business blog or Twitter to share enjoyment of the Games with your customers. Use polls, ask fun questions, get your followers to post pictures of themselves doing sports, or jumping hurdles — anything that’s fun and engaging.” – Marketing Donut

Social Media Today adds:

You can (if it’s not completely out of context for your brand to make a comment on a sporting event):

  • Give relevant, accurate, factual information.
  • Report on the facts of an event (e.g., The Olympics starts today!!).
  • State when an event is taking place (e.g., 100m race in 5 minutes).
You should:
  • Moderate pictures, video or audio from events to be posted on your social media sites by applying the special rules applying to participants and attendees, as you would any other potentially copyright infringing content (see Part III of this blog [to be published soon]).
  • Update moderation guidelines to cater for the Olympics legislation.
  • Consider re-tweets in the same way as your own tweets when applying these restrictions.
  • Be cautious, moderate and appropriate when linking to any content that refers to the Olympics. Linking rules to have been published by LOCOG [the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games] in section 5 of their terms of use.
You shouldn’t (unless an exemption or defense applies (see Part I) or one of the ‘can do’ list above):
  • Use the Olympic symbols, the words ‘Olympics’, ‘Paralympics’ or any derivation of those words.
  • Use the Listed Expressions (2 from List A or one from each list [lists A and B mentioned above] – for details, see Part I).
  • Run a marketing campaign to get your brand associated with the Olympics.
  • Encourage Olympics themed-responses from your community.
  • Run a competition for Olympics tickets.
  • Give specific expressions of support (e.g., “Go Team GB in London 2012!”) or excitement/enthusiasm suggesting a connection with the brand (e.g.,  “everyone here at Brand X is so excited about the Olympics!”)
  • Mention a specific product or service in connection with the Games (e.g.,  “London 2012 athletes should drink Brand X for energy”)
  • Sponsor London 2012 broadcasts or reports

So, if you play by the rules you can create a summer games-inspired sale or event that will have your business going for the gold. If you were already planning one, or know of any rule/restriction that we forgot to mention, feel free to share in the comments!

© 2012 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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