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Don’t mention that big event in 2012

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

London2012Did you know you can’t mention the words “London 2012”, “London Olympics” and my personal favourite “London2012.com” in press releases?

To use them for such marketing collateral is to assume a false association with the London Olympics brand which the London Olympic Games Organising Committee (LOCOG) is protecting so diligently for sponsors. I’m not a big fan of this strategy, especially to the extent that LOCOG seem to be taking it. It reduces the benefits of the London Olympics, paid for by UK/Londoners to any multinational company which can stomp up the official sponsorship cash. God forbid someone lists the website. 

I doubt any journalist expects this ban to work. How many World Cup related press releases did you receive back in 2006? That was also a protected event, and one which just featured England, this one is going to be held in England. PRs are trained to spot these spots of opportunity, it might be more difficult to score hits for releases not related to the Olympics.

This also has to be the dumbest strategy I’ve seen in ages. Would letting every company/happy content contributor benefit as much as they possibly can from the Olympics really be so bad? More people will watch it, higher ratings, more for sponsors. Even better, it might really help small businesses to put up signs saying “Watch the London 2012 Olympic games here” or “Discount prices for London 2012 accommodation”. It might better stimulate the economy as a whole, which might not be a terrible thing.

Regardless, the exception to the rule is in news editorial pieces. Journalists are excluded from this law, which puts PRs in an interesting position. You can’t mention it in any press release but you can in accompanying pitch e-mails or feature ideas? Even opinion editorials are ok.

Another question is what about blogs, podcasts and all forms of citizen journalism? What if your customers happen to be talking about the London 2012 Olympic games within your marketing collateral? I really can’t see how this is going to be enforced.

So what about blogs? Podcasts? What about citizen journalism? What about your customers associating your company with the Olympics through their own channels? Take this blog right now, this blog is a part of how I get work – am I associating myself with the London 2012 Olympics?

It’s going to be interesting to see just how far LOCOG will enforce this.

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