What You Should Know About London 2012 SEO and Marketing Campaigns

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London 2012

The Olympic Games are a tempting pool for unauthorized advertising. (Illustration/© blinkblink – Fotolia.com)

If you are planning to use London 2012 related keywords in your SEO, online marketing, and social media campaigns to drive traffic to your site and to boost sales, you might want to rethink your strategy. While there are clear social media guidelines for participants, non-participants seem to believe that they are free to use London 2012-themed strategies as they see fit.

Unless you are a journalist or a LOCOG-approved advertiser, use of Olympic-themed campaigns may come with repercussions.

London 2012, as well as any official names, phrases, trademarks, logos, and designs related to the 2012 Olympics, are protected by intellectual property laws, and this is not just in the U.K. Every country may have a set of rules and regulations regarding London 2012 terminology and derivatives.

Even words like Olympian, Olympiad, their plurals, or words very similar to them (e.g. Olympix) can get you in trouble. Any use of these representations in the course of your trade without written consent from LOCOG infringes on intellectual property rights, and it could result in serious consequences that include fines and/or other sanctions.

The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) will be using Nielsen for media monitoring, including social media, and they will act against those who infringe on their intellectual property rights. The IOC will also be monitoring social media, and it encourages users to report inapropriate and unauthorized content at http://www.olympicgamesmonitoring.com/.

To give you a concrete example, for online marketers, registering a domain using any of the Games’ Marks is strictly prohibited. URLs including the word “Olympic” or any similar words, such as www.mynameolympic.com (in English or in any foreign language) are not allowed unless approved by the IOC or LOCOG. For those who are not marketers, if they believe that they have a legitimate reason for using a Games’ Mark within a domain name, they can request permission by emailing brandprotection@london2012.com.

The only allowed use of London 2012 trademarks is for non-commercial purposes or for journalists to illustrate news and editorials about the Games. The “editorial” exception does not apply to businesses that produce newsletters, client bulletins, or other marketing collateral.

Are there ways around these restrictions? It all depends on how creative you can get. An editorial by John Graham-Cumming of The Guardian U.K. suggests a possible approach that replaces London 2012 with Londinium MMXII; however, remember that the LOCOG takes action against derivatives, too. Do read the article, though, as it offers some brilliant ideas for marketers to capitalize on this summer’s big event without actually using trademarks in their campaigns.

Mihaela Lica Butler
Mihaela Lica Butler is senior partner at Pamil Visions PR and editor at Everything PR. She is a widely cited authority on search engine optimization... Read Full Bio
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  • Amit

    Mihaela Lica the information provided by you is very important information for Search Engine Optimization.

  • Cory J.

    I was sure that people will capitalize on the coming Olympics games but never thought that Internet marketers will do it. I mean, I work for a rising SEO company (www.digitalmoz.com) and I anticipated that marketers will take advantage of this event but it will a little too desperate to put it in your articles or even just squeezing your keyword into the Olympic theme. I think that people should not scar the Olympics games but rather, just enjoy it.

    • Mihaela Lica

      You are right, Cory. Unfortunately, I already see it happening, even offline. Many local businesses are doing it. A baker even made an Olympic bread. Funny thing, isn’t it?

      • Cory J.

        That’s really funny Mihaela. I even read a post online that even tourists are badly affected by the Olympic seasons because there’s a lot of pick pockets in the city. What’s worse is, is not just the local who are taking advantage of tourists but these pick pockets come from other parts of the country. I feel bad for the victims and the London police should do something about it, don’t you think?

  • Mark Aster

    Theres some negative Buzz revolving these social Olympics, just read quite a controversial article : http://www.newsgrape.com/a/BKtbmw0bMR4YFpUEQt3TXg/how-social-media-can-get-you-sued-during-the-2012-olympic-games/

  • danny crane

    If you want to monitor London 2012 SEO news, blogs, twitter, facebook, google+ or youtube from any website you can use socialwatching.com. There’s an open search engine on search.socialwatching.com website.

  • Brendan Irwn

    just a question – is there nowhere on the web where one can look up what constitutes an infringement of their rights?

  • Aman

    Mihaela Lica the article is very important for Olympic Games Viewers.