A few days from now, the eyes of the world will be on the men and women participating in that big, international sporting event happening somewhere in South America. You know the one. Don’t make me say the name of the event because I’ll get in trouble.
The committee that oversees those games, has made it clear that any business that isn’t a direct sponsor of those games, isn’t allowed to reference the games, the athletes or the hosting town in any social media post. This is a blog post, which is technically covered under the “media-related” exclusion, but since a summary of this post will end up on Facebook and LinkedIn, I’m not taking any chances.
The ban includes the official hashtags, photos of the events, congratulatory messages to the athletes and any variation of the word (dare I say it. . . ) “Olympic”.
This edict flies in the face of conventional marketing wisdom which says companies should take advantage of trending topics and use them to promote their own agenda. And when you put it that way, you can see why the United States Olympic Committee is against it.
I’m sure companies like Coca-Cola, who paid for the privilege of tying their brand to the games, also don’t want freeloaders jumping on their Brazilian bandwagon. But what about national pride? What about support for our team? What about how clueless a brand will look if they carry on business as usual without a single mention of the games?
I understand it, but I don’t get it. The Olympics is all about creating a harmonious and shared experience between people of different cultures from around the world. But how can we all come together, if we can’t speak the same Olympic language?
For more information on exactly what words you can and can’t use, Adweek has the list. . . the long, long, list. If you’re thinking of ignoring the ban, think again. The experts say you should find more creative ways of joining in, ways that won’t open you up to an expensive and embarrassing lawsuit.
We’ll close this out with hearty “go to it” for all those physically fit people who are going to do things in that town in hopes of winning a necklace with a yellow disc on the end. It may not sound like it, but we’re rooting for you, 100%.