Everyone loves to watch the Olympics. The track and field events, and especially the marathon are super exciting for those of us obsessed with all things #running. However, this year there has been a lot of talk about Rule 40.
What is Rule 40?
1. Rule 40 is designed to protect the financial and intellectual property assets of the Olympic Games and its sponsors by limiting what the athletes, and non-Olympic partners, can do and say.
2. Olympic sponsorship rights are sold for the big bucks. WEIRD, it all comes back to money! (BTW, a Top Olympic sponsorship can cost as much as $1 billion over the course of each four-year Olympic stretch).
3. Basically, Rule 40 says that it is to “prevent the impression of a commercial connection between any non-Olympic partner & the Olympic games.”
1. Any athlete’s sponsor that doesn’t play the big money sponsorship game can’t congratulate their athlete via social media & the athlete can’t thank them via social media.
2. Really, it includes any kind of ad campaign. Not just social media.
3. Well, they can – just not in the “blackout period” of July 27th – August 24th for the Rio games. During that time, everyone who isn’t an Olympic sponsor is basically “he who must not be named.” (Harry Potter fans get the reference, the rest of you – go read the books you heathens.)
I first heard about Rule 40 from Oiselle. Much of the information I posted above is from Sally’s extremely well done blog post about Rule 40. See more at: http://www.oiselle.com/blog/birds-eye-view-rule-40-explained#sthash.nDrGr9JO.dpuf
It is a bummer, and a sad that hard working athletes who get a break and get a sponsorship can’t thank the sponsors who took a chance on them. I loved this campaign from Brooks: http://www.wsj.com/articles/brooks-goes-undercover-to-slam-olympic-marketing-rules-1469818175
Basically, they are making shirts and other marketing pieces to speak out against Rule 40.
“Brooks, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, is among several sportswear makers that aren’t official sponsors of the Games but do sponsor Olympic hopefuls. The company will send roughly a dozen athletes to Rio, including decathlete Jeremy Taiwo and marathoner Desiree Linden. Like the rest of the U.S. track & field team, they are required to wear the official uniform supplied and sponsored by Nike Inc.”
I’ll be sporting my shirt to watch!!