IU experts are available to discuss issues surrounding 2016 Summer Olympics. Part of this blog originally appeared here.
In prior Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) tightly controlled access to viewing audiences with strict rules about what merchandise, logos, etc. could be seen at Olympic venues. This included what products athletes were allowed to bring to their competitions.
In the 2012 Olympics, athletes still wore their favorite products to warm up in even if they weren’t an official sponsor – for example – the Beats headphones that Michael Phelps wore. Beats by Dr. Dre had the most effective ambush marketing campaign of the 2012 Olympics: the company sent its products to various athletes with their country’s flag emblazoned on it. Who doesn’t want to show their spirit for their homeland?
Likewise, Nike launched a global ad campaign referring to games in London without specifically mentioning the Olympics, since it was not an official Olympics sponsor. Several other American athletes protested this rule, called “Rule 40,” because they wanted to support the brands and products that had been with them night and day as they trained. After much consideration, the IOC didn’t prosecute any of these rogue advertisers.