Olympic Branding Photo courtesy of Flickr user Ben SutherlandThe Olympic Games are both a celebration that allows the world to share in a spectacular athletic event, and a showcase for advertising that has helped to bring the spirit of the Olympics to the consumer. Corporations including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Visa have spent millions to get their products before the eyes of the world.

What does an Olympic sponsorship mean for companies? 

Companies invest in the Games because the Olympic symbol is one way to reinforce a sponsoring company’s positive attributes by giving the sponsor the ability to attach its brand name to something positive and known worldwide, such as the Olympics. The sponsorship fees allow companies to claim sponsorship in all their advertising marks and on all collateral, and in most cases license the Olympic marks to use on their own products.

Tight branding rules 

The Olympics give outstanding branding opportunities, but the opportunities have strict guidelines. Sponsoring and non-sponsoring companies have many regulations that they must abide by in reference to using the Olympic branding. Only authorized sponsors can use the Olympic branding and it can only be used in specific ways.  

The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (POCOG) take extreme measures to prevent brand ambushing and maintain exclusivity. For example, all outdoor advertising within one mile of the Olympic venue is reserved for sponsors and small labels on items such as toilets, soap dispensers, water bottles and clothing will be removed completely. Non-sponsoring businesses are not allowed to make any references to the Games or participants. Handmade Olympic signs or promotions are prohibited during Olympic events.

 Why are the Olympics so strict about branding? 

Due to the Olympics’ worldwide visibility, it is crucial that they are selective and exclusive when choosing their sponsors. While some of the regulations may seem outrageous, it helps maintain control over their branding and prevent other business from using the Olympic logo.

What does that mean for small business owners?

The Olympic Games can be used as a lesson for small business owners looking for partnerships or sponsors, even though on a less global scale. It is very important to a brand’s image and reputation to ensure that the partnering companies have the same positive ethics. Therefore, for small businesses to protect themselves they should consider these tips:

  • Be exclusive with associations to protect reputation
  • Maintain brand standards such as color choice and graphic icons. Require any entity using the logo to do the same.

Need Help? 

The Belford Group is an experienced image-building marketing and website development agency, with more than a decade spent providing creative marketing and advertising solutions to fit any budget and any medium. We help companies through the process of evaluating the effectiveness of their branding package. If the branding is no longer working, we can fix it!


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