The Rio Olympics start tomorrow. Already, brands and businesses have been warned not to discuss the games on social networks – or they’ll feel the legal wrath of the USOC.
Yes, the United States Olympic Committee has outlined a ridiculously long list of things “commercial entities” can’t do – unless they are an official sponsor. Here’s how the USOC put it:
“Unless a company or organization’s primary business is disseminating news and information, social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) serve to promote the company/brand; to raise the brand’s profile and public opinion about the company/organization; and/or to increase sales, membership or donations. Thus, any use of USOC trademarks on a non-media company’s website or social media site is viewed as commercial in nature and consequently is prohibited…”
The general public and media organizations that report on or discuss the games on social media should be safe. Essentially, the USOC is trying to prevent any non-sponsors from getting into the discussion.
Unless your business has sponsored the Olympics, make sure to avoid the following when posting updates from your social media account for the next few weeks:
- Don’t use any official Olympics logos.
- Don’t use any USOC trademarked words or phrases, which include Olympic, Olympian, Team USA, Future Olympian, Gateway to Gold, Go for the Gold, Going for the Gold, Let the Games Begin, Paralympic, Pan Am Games, and Olympiad, Paralympiad, Pan-American or any combination of those words.
- Don’t mention the location of the Olympics, which includes terms like Road to Rio/Pyeongchange/Tokyo/etc., Rio 2016, Pyeongchang 2018, or Tokyo 2020.
- Don’t use “simulations” of Olympic, such as Aqualympics, Biolympics, Chicagolympics, Radiolympics, or Mathlympics.
- Don’t use hashtags that include USOC trademarks, such as #teamUSA or #Rio2016.
- Don’t share, retweet, or repost anything from official Olympic accounts.
- Don’t post any pictures taken at the Olympics.
- Don’t feature any Olympic athletes in your social media posts or ads.
- Don’t post anything about Olympics results.
- Don’t wish athletes good luck on social media.
You can read all the rules and restrictions here.