18.07.12

Take Care With Advertising For Summer Games

An advertiser's biggest dream is a captive audience and large successful events usually provide the ideal audience for an advertiser to communicate its message. The Summer Olympic Games is ranked by National Geographic as No. 2 on its list of Top 10 Sporting Events. Forbes.com ranked the Summer Olympic Games as the second most valuable sports event brand. In 2010, Forbes.com valued the Summer Olympic brand at US$230 million after the Beijing games reaped US$3.9 billion in revenue. The stated basis for this brand valuation is the amount of revenue generated per day of competition. The top ranked brand was Super Bowl with brand value of US$420 million and the third ranked brand was FIFA World Cup with brand value of US$120 million.

Track & Field is likely ranked in the top 3 most popular sports in Jamaica. It is probably safe to say that every household in Jamaica will be keeping abreast of the Olympic Games July 27 to August 12. Many companies and individuals have already started to utilise the opportunities presented by the build up to the Summer Olympic Games. Many others are still in the starting blocks focused on earning some advantage by marketing during the Olympic season.

A big part of the success of the Olympic brand is fierce brand protection. In the UK, special pieces of legislation have been passed to ensure that there is a sensible framework within which the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games ("LOCOG") is able to grant exclusive advertising rights to sponsors, protect against ambush marketing and protect the various brands of the Olympic Games from infringement by persons who have not paid for rights to use the brands or be associated with the event. The LOCOG also relies on pre-existing laws to protect the integrity of its brands and the event, including copyright law, designs law and trade mark law.

No special pieces of legislation have been passed in Jamaica for the protection of the brands or rights of association with the Olympic Games. Thus, while the LOCOG may be constrained in some instances from taking action against certain activities in Jamaica, for which a remedy would have been available under the special UK legislation, there are still opportunities for enforcement in Jamaica. Additionally, with the Internet (social media in particular) being the mechanism for making the world a truly global village, advertisers may find that it is difficult to keep infringing advertising outside the domain of UK law. Advertisers, beware!

"London 2012","Summer Games", "Olympic" and "Olympian" are a few of the trade marks registered in Jamaica. On the face of it these terms are, therefore, not ordinary English words open to be used by the general public unless referring to the Olympic Games. Thus, if any unauthorised person in Jamaica uses these marks or marks closely similar to them for the furtherance of their business, specifically for advertising their business, goods or services, there may be an infringement of the registered trade marks. Additionally, unregistered marks that have become well known internationally as being associated with or belonging to the organisers of the Olympic Games are entitled to protection in Jamaica. Clear breaches would include selling flat screen TVs "for the Olympic Games"; advertising air condition units as being "perfect to keep you cool for the Summer Games"; or advertising energy drinks to "bring out the Olympian in you".