Beijing Officials Ramp Up Olympic Marketing Ban

With exactly one month to go until the start of the summer Olympics, officials in Beijing have ramped up efforts to ban, remove and eliminate ads throughout the city and elsewhere that either promote non-Olympic sponsors or contain any unauthorized use of Olympics logos and images in ads.

According to the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, inspection teams “will be dispatched to airports, railway stations, places near Olympic venues and other public areas” beginning July 11 to observe whether ads contain unauthorized Olympic logos and the Beijing Olympic signs. The BOCOG will also monitor electronic media as well as on-line ads. The Summer Olympics begin Aug. 8.

The BOCOG also is increasing efforts to prevent ambush marketing, where companies that are rivals of official Olympic marketing partners seek to capitalize on the Games without paying rights and marketing fees. Analysts predict that the 12 top-tier marketing partners of the International Olympic Committee, as well as official marketing partners of the U.S. Olympic Committee and other global organizations officially aligned with the IOC, will spend upward of $2 billion in marketing support.

Any violation would “lead to fines or punishment according to the Olympic intellectual property protection regulations,” Chen Feng, deputy chief at BOCOG’s marketing department, said in a statement. For example, the only drinks allowed at Olympic venues during the Beijing Games are from IOC soft drink sponsor, Coca Cola.

Last month, the BOCOG, working with the China Advertising Assn., put out a statement emphasizing that “any unauthorized use of the images of athletes, coaches and officials participating in the Beijing Olympic Games in their ads should be put to a halt. Media publications are advised . . . to carry ads of Olympic partners or sponsors on their Olympic channels and not allow non-Olympic partners or sponsors to appear on the channels.”