Adweek: How Social Media Can Get Brands in Trouble During the Olympics
Adweek: How Social Media Can Get Brands in Trouble During the Olympics

The Olympic Committee has a strict set of rules in place for non-sponsored brands when it comes to what they can say about the Olympics on social media.

The Olympics will soon set social media on fire, but your
business probably won't be able to talk about it.

This year's modifications to the Olympics' Rule 40 sponsorship guidelines have helped some unofficial Olympic sponsors leverage the games in their advertising efforts. But if you're not an official sponsor like Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Visa or P&G, posting about the Olympics on social media during the official blackout period—which started on Wednesday and ends on Aug. 24—can be like doing the 100-yard dash through a minefield.

Here's a sample of the Olympic Committee's many prohibitions against business activity during the games:

1. Businesses can't use any of the Olympics' trademarked words or phrases. These terms include:

  • Olympic
  • Olympian
  • Team USA
  • Future Olympian
  • Gateway to gold
  • Go for the gold
  • Let the games begin
  • Paralympic
  • Pan Am Games
  • Olympiad
  • Paralympiad
  • Pan-American


2. You can't use terms that reference the location of the Olympics, such as:

  • Road to Rio
  • Road to Pyeongchang
  • Road to Tokyo
  • Rio 2016
  • Pyeongchang 2018
  • Tokyo 2020


3. You must not use words that incorporate the word "Olympic," such as Mathlympics, Aqualympics, Chicagolympics, Radiolympics, etc.

To read the full list, click here.