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Don’t mention the Olympics!

Dr Barbara Jamieson, Senior Teaching Fellow

Faculty Blog

According to Nike, 2012 is the year to step up and “Make it count”. And, here in the UK, there’s no better time to “Make it count” than right now, the year of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Except Nike is not able to be quite so explicit. Apparently the brand “police” are out in force and huge efforts have been made by the games organisers Locog to protect sponsors’ brands and broadcasting rights.

As a non-sponsor Nike is barred from using the word “Olympics”, the five-rings symbol, games mottoes, suggesting any link with the Games and expressions which include any two of the following: “Games, Two Thousand and Twelve, 2012, Twenty Twelve”.

But Nike seems to know a thing or two about how to “Make it count”...

Nike+ Fuelband LA Launch Event

Nike+ Fuelband LA Launch Event (Photo credit: Pop Culture Geek)

With the same sort of determination to succeed shown by the athletes featured in the campaign, many seem to be associating Nike with the Games, instead of Adidas, which paid some £100m for the rights.

Research by IpsosMORI shows that there has been a low recognition of Olympic sponsors, suggesting there is some confusion over which organisations are official sponsors.

Legally it seems that Nike have managed to stay just the right side of the line, the winning line that is ...and no direct reference to the Olympics in sight, just “Make it count” in 2012.

Should we be concerned…I say yes, I like Nike’s campaign, I like the emphasis on the hard work, and pushing yourself to the limit (you all know something about that) – but at the end of the day sponsors have paid good money for the Olympics, and if they weren’t paying for it, we would have to pay more …have you seen the price of the tickets!