Don’t Mess with Olympic Branding or It Will Mess With You

There are two well established branding rules that you must never, ever break or you will be swimming in legal troubles. First is if you haven’t paid millions of dollars and/or you aren’t a reporter, you must never print the words “Super Bowl” on anything related to a business (the standard work around is calling it “the big game”). Second, don’t even think about using the word “Olympics” or illustrating rings joined together or the pain will be twice as bad. Fortunately, with that second rule from on high, the Vancouver Olympics are coming next month and they’ve put together the 2010 Olympic/Paralympic Brand Management Guidelines. It’s an exhausting, sometimes unintentionally funny rundown of how Vancouver and the IOC will be diligently policing the Canadian city to make sure their brand isn’t abused. We understand the point of having these in place, but it all seems a bit much at times, particularly when you get to the Example of Infringement Assessment illustrations, in which there’s a whole weird rating system of how close to saying “Olympics” a sign in a shop window is.