Adweek: 10 Ways Brands Are Capitalizing on the Olympics Without Breaking the Rules
Adweek: 10 Ways Brands Are Capitalizing on the Olympics Without Breaking the Rules

The U.S. Olympic Committee has strict rules in place for what non-sponsor brands can say about the Olympics.

If you're not an official Olympic sponsor brand, talking about the Olympics on social media during the games can be a minefield thanks to the U.S. Olympic Committee's strict intellectual property rules. Some brands have managed to leverage the enthusiasm of the games without breaking the rules, however. Here's how they're doing it:

Getting USOC waivers prior to the games. In 2015, the IOC and USOC announced changes to sponsorship rule 40, which allow athletes to appear in generic advertising that does not explicitly mention the games or use any Olympics intellectual property. To take advantages of those changes, U.S. athletes and non-sponsors had to submit waivers to the USOC by Jan. 27, 2016, and those ads had to have been in market by March 27. Examples of such campaigns are Under Armour's "Rule Yourself" spots with Michael Phelps and GoPro's digital video series, "Finding Missy," with Missy Franklin.

Using themes related to fandom and athletes. Ford's campaign for its 2017 Ford Escape SUV, "We are All Fans," includes TV and Snapchat ads that don't use any banned terminology but still allude to the Olympics. The ads show a guy performing a pommel horse routine on top of his Ford Escape, and a weightlifter loading boxes into the back of her SUV. "The keywords we were brainstorming were 'fit,' 'active,' 'strong,' 'human' and 'smart,'" Kellee Montgomery, Ford's social marketing manager, told Adweek.


Launching Olympics-themed contests. To promote the removal of artificial flavors and colors from its cereals, General Mills launched the Rabbit Showdown, a campaign that's a tribute to the famous Trix rabbit. The Rabbit Showdown video and tweets feature rabbits performing Olympic sports like gymnastics, track and field, and diving, and invite fans to submit videos of their pet rabbits' "amazing athletic talents."


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