brands subject to strict supervision during the competition

brands subject to strict supervision during the competition

The Paris Olympic Games, which will begin on July 26, will be no exception to the rule: as with each edition, brands and companies will have to comply with precise rules laid down by the International Olympic Committee and the Organizing Committee for not to overshadow the official sponsors of the Games and avoid heavy sanctions.

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In the jargon, these are “ Olympic properties »: the rings, the motto, the flag, the terms “Olympic”, “Olympians” but also everything linked to the Paris Olympic Games themselves – the mascot, the torch, the official poster – are protected.

During the Olympic Games in France, it is the Organizing Committee which monitors their proper use, a use authorized for official partners. “ There is extremely strong control from the Committee over what companies can do », Explains to AFP Vanessa Bouchara, lawyer specializing in intellectual property. “ The Paris judicial court has provided availability to take into account various violations that could occur during the Olympics », she adds.

In February, the Sporsora association, which brings together sports stakeholders, already reported “ 1500 products removed or destroyed ” And ” more than 650 letters of formal notice and reminders of rights » sent since 2019. Several years ago, Le Coq Sportif, which currently manufactures equipment for athletes on the French teams, was condemned for sneakers stamped “ the Olympic dream “. But it can also be the terms “ Olympic laziness » on cups or the misappropriation of rings in the form of macaroons or condoms, recently detailed the director general of the French Olympic Committee, Skander Karaa, during a conference at the Court of Cassation.

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Exceptions for partner brands

It’s the ” “clean venue” principle », analysis for AFP Bruno Bianzina, general director of the Sport Market agency: all the brands are erased. “ Unless authorization may be granted exceptionally by the IOC Executive Board, no form of advertising or other publicity will be permitted in or above the stadiums, enclosures and other competition venues which are considered to be part of the venues. Olympics », We can read in the charter of the International Olympic Committee.

Exceptions are nevertheless possible. This is the case of Omega for example, a Swiss watch brand responsible for timekeeping and partner of the IOC, whose name we see appearing in the Olympic stadiums. At the Paris Games, the French luxury giant LVMH, tier 1 sponsor, will be “ associated with the path of the flame » but the mystery is maintained as to whether or not he could make an appearance during the unprecedented opening ceremony on the Seine. “ This would be a first for the Olympics », notes Bruno Bianzina.

And among the sponsors, there is a hierarchy: not everyone has the same rights. The 2023 Olympic law introduced exemptions for display. Certain spaces normally prohibited, such as historical monuments, will be able to receive advertisements from 30 days before the opening ceremony, i.e. June 26, and until 15 days after the closing of the Paralympic Games.

But for anyone who is not a partner, it is much more complex. “ We must be very careful never to suggest an official partnership and not try to take advantage of Olympic notoriety. », explains Vanessa Bouchara. From the “​​​​​ambush marketing “, in other words “ambush” marketing to surf the event. “​​​​​Unauthorized actors or unauthorized companies are prohibited from communicating in a manner that could be considered unfair or parasitic », summarizes the lawyer.

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A recent relaxation for athlete sponsors

Communication from sponsors of athletes and athletes themselves is also very supervised. However, it was relaxed after the Rio Games in 2016, where a company that sponsored an athlete could not even be mentioned. “ When we do shoots with athletes, we erase the watches, we blur third-party brands », says Bruno Bianzina. The IOC and the Cojo, who keep an eye on things, “​​​​​have effective social media monitoring tools », he adds.

Concretely, these rules apply from the opening of the Olympic village, from July 18 until August 13. A brand cannot “​​​​​state explicitly or implicitly that a particular product or service helped improve the participant’s performance » for example, and she can only thank her athlete once during the Olympics and without the brand’s image being published.