The “major sporting event(s) that shall not be named” edition.
Sports – and sports marketing – are in the spotlight this week.
Olympics’ Rule 40 sponsorship rules, a.k.a. “If you’re a business – & not an official $ponsor – don’t post about the games on social media.”
Seriously? Yes, at least until the blackout period ends on August 24, 2016.
Adweek’s Christine Birkner provides a fascinating overview of the intellectual property and brand restrictions, including trademarked words and phrases and more. Editor Robert Klara goes back to the 1996 Summer Olympics – and Michael Johnson’s gold Nike track shoes – to explain how the sponsorship rules (eventually) got to this point.
The reasons for starting down this path are understandable. However, the present-day rules are frustrating and counterintuitive. Limiting the use of symbols, logos, words, and phrases to sponsors is one thing. Not allowing shares and retweets from official Olympics accounts displays a lack of awareness about how social media is used. And not allowing companies to wish competitors luck – or even congratulations! – comes across as stingy (at best) and mean-spirited (at worst).
Meanwhile, it’s not all fun & endorsements for many competitive athletes.
When so many high-profile sports heroes have major endorsement deals, it’s easy to forget that:
- It is expensive to train and travel to competitions; and
- Many athletes struggle to find employment that allows them to fund their training, yet still offers the flexibility to put in the hours required to remain competitive.
Fast Company’s Gwen Moran talks with several active athletes about the mix of sponsorships, stipends, and crowdfunding ventures that it takes to allow them to pursue their sports.
My two favorite ads. (So far.)
“First!” Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton – who compete on the U.S. and Canadian track and field teams, respectively – are hilarious (and supremely relatable) in this spot for Visa and Best Buy.