Rio is coming. Oh yes. For a few brief weeks the entire population become passionate, crazy sports fans. And that can logically only lead to one thing.
Advertising. Great steaming bucket loads of the stuff.
The thing is, the Olympic brand is the most heavily protected brand to exist, ever. Seriously. It has trade mark protection, copyright protection, design protection, protection under the Australian Consumer Law and its very own Olympic Insignia Protection Act. On top of that, the IOC restricts Olympic athletes and other Olympic participants from endorsing nonofficial brands during a blackout period around the Games.
The gist of all these laws is the same. Don't infer Olympic endorsement or use the Olympic brand unless you have the AOC's permission. Sounds easy. But it's not surprising that agencies and advertisers push the laws to their furthest boundaries the Olympics are far too valuable a marketing opportunity to pass up.
Case in point, Telstra. It (quite cleverly) tried to piggyback on Channel Seven's official Olympic broadcaster status, advertising that it was the `Official Technology Partner of Seven's Olympic Games Coverage'. Telstra is not itself an official Olympic sponsor. Optus got those rights this time round.
The AOC cried foul. So Telstra added a footer to the ads saying that it's not an official sponsor of the Olympics. Still unsatisfied, the AOC has taken its footy up to the Federal Court. It will likely argue that you can't use a qualifier to fundamentally change the meaning of the headline. If Telstra loses, it could face hefty fines. And the AOC could also seek an account for all of Telstra's profits flowing from the campaign. Ouch.
We like guerrilla advertising as much as the next guy. It's entertaining to consume and the legal issues are interesting. Just make sure you have an appetite for risk. It's expensive if you get it wrong.