- Businesses at risk of falling foul of stringent regulations
- CIM calls for regulation ‘in the spirit of the Olympics; not the letter of the law’
London 7 April 2011: London 2012 regulation could see marketers falling foul of legislation and being criminalised for standard business practice, The Chartered Institute of Marketing warns in its new paper launched this week.
Regulations under consultation by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) could see rulings introduced ahead of the 2012 Games which prevent businesses benefitting from a reflective association to the Games – a move that could be catastrophic to the business practices of thousands, the Institute advises. Similar rulings were introduced in the South Africa World Cup, with criminal charges newly introduced to cover ‘ambush’ offences.
London 2012 organisers have raised concerns about ‘ambush marketing’, whereby organisations look to capitalise on awareness, attention, goodwill and other benefits generated by having an association with an event. The Institute’s paper, Ambush Marketing and the Law, considers how companies can gain reflective economic benefit from the Games, which Visit Britain estimates will generate £1.5bn revenues in tourism alone, without flouting the law.
Roderick Wilkes, chief executive of The Chartered Institute of Marketing, comments, “Britain’s businesses could miss their seat at ‘the greatest show on earth’ unless a rational balance is struck between sponsors and non-sponsor.
“The Games and their sponsors need to be protected but there is a grey area about the rights of all other organisations – and individuals – that are not sponsors. In the worst case, those trying to associate business activity to the London events could face a criminal charge; which we find wholly unacceptable.”
Ahead of the final DCSM consultation, the Institute has the following advice for marketers:
n Develop creative and innovative ways around the strictures of the legislation – what is your key business offering and would an indirect association be more beneficial for your outfitn Non-specific associations with health, fitness and athleticism will not infringe on the Act – consider the spirit of the Olympics and the goodwill that will surround a more general interest in personal fitnessn Read up! Whilst the Institute will continue to update members on the marketing rules and regulations surrounding the Olympics, be sure to take on board advice from LOCOG and London 2012 which is freely available on the Games’ website
Wilkes concludes, “The Chartered Institute of Marketingare a wonderful opportunity for the nation, for businesses and individual consumers. But businesses could lose out if they are stifled by regulation. Beyond 2012, the Institute is concerned that a precedent will have been set which unduly prohibits businesses tapping into current national and societal events.
“We are calling for ‘common sense’ legislation which will see business campaigns around the Games taken ‘in the spirit of the Olympics; not the letter of the law’.”