Tag Archives: Sponsorship

Is Sponsorship being devalued by Social Media?

Guest Post: Tom Kelk is a tech/sport blogger and Senior Social Exec at communications agency, Pitch. You can find him on Twitter (@TomKelk)

This is the first World Cup where brands have heavily activated around the tournament through digital channels – when they have no sponsored right to do so. Since South Africa 2010, Facebook has more than doubled its monthly active users, Twitter users now send more than 10x as many tweets per day and now Instagram exists!

The social media landscape has been transformed in four years, and gives an indication to why brands are putting the effort into activating around Brazil 2014. Surely all this chatter around an event is a dream come true for the official sponsors? It’s not quite that simple.

In a recent study by Unruly Media, only four of the top 11 most viewed brand ads about the World Cup were from sponsors. Less than half. Continental Tyres – one of the leading official sponsors, didn’t feature at all. Sony – an official partner, are nowhere to be seen.

Unruly Media Braziliant Brand Tracker

Unsurprisingly, Nike use their assets and force the relation in the minds of consumers. All the Nike-sponsored teams and players were involved in their heavy-cost ad that implies they are official sponsors – but they’re not.  If you did a poll, how many would say Nike were a main World Cup sponsor?

Beats have come out trumps from this World Cup through an impressive ad utilising their playing assets. Again, no ‘right’ to have a World Cup conversation but used World Cup players to enable the link with the consumer.

Obviously the study isn’t flawless, but it does continue to highlight an interesting question. In the digital age, is there still the same value in being an official sponsor?

To answer the question, it’s worth dissecting a sponsorship package to understand where the value still lies, and where better to look, than FIFA.

FIFA state that a sponsor benefits from: “Wide product category exclusivity which is afforded to all Commercial Affiliates, allowing each brand to distinguish themselves from competing brands in their product category.” Now, whilst this has been aggressively reinforced in and around the stadiums, this is far from true in a digital space. To start with, look at the table above. Nike above adidas, Samsung above Sony and Nissan above Hyundai. Not looking that distinguished from competitors there… What about beer brands? Budweiser, official sponsor, have activated heavily around the World Cup:

But has that stopped Newcastle Brown Ale benefitting from the platform? Not one bit.

Another key benefit outlined by FIFA, is “offering a unique platform vis-à-vis their competitors.” This point is the crux of the debate. I would argue that this platform has disintegrated in recent years. Social media has enabled brands without the official connection to ambush these ‘unique platforms’.You only have to consider the Suarez incident.

There was a clamour for attention from brands off the back of the biting incident, but how many were official? The only one that springs to mind, was the Uruguayan Mcdonald’s Twitter account, which was more than likely not signed off in the higher echelons of Mcdonald’s as FIFA would absolutely frown upon sponsors discussing the incident!

Aside from the conversation, what else do FIFA sponsors have the ‘right’ to use? They can use official tournament title and logos – but is it beneficial, or is that in fact a hindrance? When using social media, audiences have developed an eye for official titling, and have almost developed an instinctive filter to those posts. Besides, as seen with the Snickers tweet above, who needs to reference the World Cup when over 5,000 tweets per second are being sent? Everyone knows what you’re talking about. In fact, could we go further and ask whether it could be better to work unofficially?

So, taking all this into account, does the traditional sponsorship model need altering to include further digital rights and should sponsors be negotiating harder to get this cover? Surely when their competitors begin to be more prominent in discussions over the World Cup, for example, surely they have a right to question costs?

Perhaps the new ideal ‘bigger brand’ model will follow the likes of Nike and Beats who find themselves less restricted by buying direct player assets and activate on an unofficial basis.Bigger brands will increasingly explore these opportunities in a creative capacity to give them the right to participate more heavily in these conversations. As for the smaller brands, they’ll continue to jump in and out when there’s a product link, and get small wins when they can.

There’s obviously still value in sponsorship. Access to assets like players and visible advertising rights are ultimately beneficial. However, social media allows a conversation to be had by brands when they couldn’t do so before without treading on toes and this is where sponsors need to be tougher on their sponsorships to maximise the value they receive on a digital platform, as well as a physical.

This is a topic that a dissertation could focus upon, and I’ve just brushed the surface here, but what do you think? Is the value of a sponsorship still the same and how has it been affected by the rise of social media? What should brands do to fight competitors on both platforms?


My Top 5 World Cup Digital Trends

At our latest Digital Sport London event I spent the opening part of the night speaking about what a few of the brands are up to as we approach the World Cup. It’s an area that always fills up a lot of column inches within the trade press and this year is no different.

One thing that is apparent though is the lack of hype this year. The England team is not expected to do so well and maybe this is reflected in the size of the push and innovation by brands. Marketing Week have brought this up in their article, that beyond the traditional sponsors there is a lack of action – which ultimately may be a missed opportunity.

When going through the activations that we’ve seen from the likes of adidas, Nike, Sony, McDonalds, Coca Cola and Hyundai there were some themes that started to become clear.


The likes of adidas, Budweiser, Johnson & Johnson and Volkswagon have all signalled their intent to make sure they don’t miss a single opportunity. As we’ve seen from the previous couple of Superbowls there is a shift towards brands setting up these ‘newsrooms’ where they exploit the World Cup’s memorable moments (both good and bad) and compete directly with broadcasters for fan’s attention.

The advantage of setting up these teams is that all the decision makers and ‘doers’ are together and can create and approve content in near real-time. Thus delivering something entertaining or useful to fans when they are in a prime state to consume it.  How well it will work and how they will tap into the different nations taking part will be interesting.


This does follow on, and overlap somewhat, with what we’ve already been discussing. But what we’ve seen this year is a move away from traditional forms of advertising and fan engagement to tapping into channels that already have that audience in place.  This is best shown by a couple of relationships that have already been working away.

The main one here in the UK is Hyundai’s relationship with Copa90, one of YouTube’s original funded channels in Europe and has an established audience of almost 700,000 subscribers. They have been producing a series of films in Brazil and offered a fan a chance to head to the World Cup.  During the tournament, as Simon Joyce (Hyundai UK sponsorship manager) shared with us at this week’s event, they will be involved with a number of films that bring together different presenters from the channel. It’s certainly going to offer something different.

Budweiser is the other sponsor that has taken a similar route. Their partnership with Fox Sports and Vice  for their “Rise as One” campaign includes two web series which has been part of a global push. Both of these partnerships show that brands are starting to look beyond traditional solutions to offer something different to fans.

YouTube Preview Image


The last World Cup, and everything from Champions League Finals to the Sochi Winter Olympics, have been dominated by Twitter. It has become the place for brands to go to speak directly to fans in an authentic way. Because of the way the platform has worked, it has been easy to show of your content (unfiltered) and for the platform to showcase that content, the results and share updates. The record for Tweets per Second is broken with every new event and is easy to PR.

We’ve seen in recent months moves from Facebook to move in on Twitter’s territory though. Their partnership with CNN to create the CNN Facebook Pulse, a digital dashboard that sits on CNN.com is a big call out to their main rival. We’ve seen tweet maps, trending topics and much more from Twitter – now they’ll be competing to host the same conversations. Will fans just use both? Will it make any difference? and will brands choose now to head to Facebook over Twitter for the World Cup?


In a move that some have seen as potentially a show of arrogance by adidas, it’s safe to say their new “All In or Nothing” campaign is certainly different. It gives fans the choice to receive all of adidas’ World Cup communications…. or opting out and receiving nothing. Basically blocking all the comms.

“If consumers decide against joining adidas and its FIFA World Cup communications, adidas is happy to let them leave the team as it focuses on quality over quantity in its social media audience,” the company said.

It could be seen as a brave move but what is obvious is that they are going for brand advocates, those who love the brand, rather than passing audiences who require a lot of investment for potentially little return. ‘Rewarding’ fans with great content that they will hope is shared by them and creating an air of exclusivity could work. Though the numbers of fans/conversations may be reduced, if the bottom-line £ increases then it will be seen as a success.

YouTube Preview Image


Once again there is a lot of overlap in this one a couple that have already been talked about. But it is worth mentioning on its own merits. Match footage has a short shelf life and if you rely on it as your main campaign content you’re going to be competing with thousands of others for the same space.

What will set brands (and broadcasters) apart is how they tell the story of the event, those playing and how the brand fits into that story. The likes of Budweiser and Hyundai have already started that with their relationships mentioned earlier but others still have time to get this right. Brazil is famous for its passion for football and there are many stories to be told around what makes this such a special event. If the brand can seamlessly fit into this (or just provide the platform) then they can make a big impact.


Have we covered everything in here? By no means. Other sites such as The Drum and Econsultancy have their say in recent days as to how brands could best seize upon this once-every-four-years opportunity. We haven’t even touched upon social hubs (Sony and FIFA have both launched their own) and second screening, which every brand and broadcaster will be looking to best serve.

Which brands do you think have nailed this World Cup the best so far on digital?


#DSLondon – Grabyo and Rawnet become first series sponsors

We’re proud and delighted to welcome on board not one but TWO new sponsors for the Digital Sport London series. Grabyo and Rawnet will be present at each #DSLondon event over the next few months as the series continues to grow and become an established part of the scene.

The events have been running each month now since September and regularly attract 50+ attendees.  The rest of the year’s events are now being planned with specific and speakers to be announced shortly.

Having two new sponsors on board ensures that the events will get bigger and better as we work towards our aim of not only hosting a great night but being able to add even more value through filming each one and releasing highlights.

Bringing Grabyo on board opens up exciting options for us to explore within the use of video within social media.  It’s not just about bringing in money to invest in the events but also partnering with companies who bring something special to the party. They currently work with the likes of SkySports, Channel 5, Setanta Sports and many other top clients.

“We’ve been impressed by the content and attendance of Dan’s Digital Sports events and believe it plays an important role in bringing people together to share ideas and best practice. We’re very happy to be supporting the initiative and look forward to sharing our own experiences as we continue to help broadcasters, content rights holders and brands capitalise on the significant commercial opportunities in real-time video.” – Gareth Capon, CEO at Grabyo

Rawnet are a digital agency with expertise in web applications, websites, e-commerce and mobile. Recently they have been nominated for the 2014 Webby Awards for their work on Gumball3000.

This week saw the 7th successive #DSLondon event, this time being held at the office of London digital agency Aqueduct. The event, as we have tried to do, offered two different elements with a ‘fireside chat’ with founder of Australian agency Sports Geek, Sean Callanan.  This was followed by a really interesting panel discussion on live event blogging led by Andy McKenzie from LiveWire Sport.

Grabyo and Rawnet will be present at all our future events, so make sure you check them out at their stands in the venue. I’m sure you’ll find out more about them in the coming month’s as they become a regular fixture at our events.




Sponsorship & Social Media [event]

Next week sees the 5th instalment of the Digital Sport London series.  These events are used to not only network with fellow professionals, and these is plenty of time to do so, but also take a look at a different topic that affects the work in which we do.

This month we take a look at a sector of the commercial side of sport that has been affected more than most, sponsorship.  It’s an area I know well from my time working as Sponsorship Manager at Glamorgan Cricket Club and have kept an interest in ever since.

At this event we’ll be not only chatting about how affected the sector has been but also get an insight into a couple of tech companies who are offering solutions to the issues thrown up.

To help guide us through this maze, we have some great people from different agencies on board.  They are;

Each speaker will bring a different perspective to the evening.  They all work with clients, and in terms of IMG some of their own properties too, and help them make the most of the opportunities that social networks have opened up.  If you have any questions you’d like to hear asked to the panel then you can use the hashtag #DSLondon or add it into the comments below.

The two tech companies we shall be hearing from are already making waves.  Storystream is a content curation and publishing platform that gives brands all the tools needed to create audience driven, real time stories.  They’ve already worked with Porsche, Goodwood Festival of Speed and Getty Images, and were recently highlighted by The Guardian as one of Brighton’s leading tech start-ups.

The second is Grabyo. They allow you to share real-time video across social networks, websites and mobile apps with ad-server integration and sponsorship opportunities.  They came to prominence with their work with SkySports during the summer transfer window, allowing the broadcaster to share video of the show on Twitter.  They now work with Channel 5, CBS, Mindshare and thinkbox and recently appointed former Sky exec Gareth Capon as their CEO.

It promises to be another great evening of learning, debate and networking.  There are still spaces and the event will take place from 6pm on Tuesday 25th Feb at Grand Union Farringdon.


Video – A Missed Opportunity For F1 Sponsors [Infographic]

Video marketing is one of my newest passions, having spent a good amount of time looking at the nuances of it both at We Are Social and particularly now at Copa90. Now with the start of the new F1 season with us, a new report [infographic] has come out revealing huge areas of opportunities for brands.

Formula 1 is the biggest global sporting series in the world yet its brand partners are struggling to amplify the value of their sponsorship rights through branded video content.

As the new season gets underway, over 200 sponsors have again committed to the adrenalin-fuelled sport.  Yet Blended Republic, a new branded content consultancy with specialist F1 experience has revealed huge gaps in marketing potential after reviewing all video content created by each of the 221 listed F1 sponsors during the 2012 season.

The report: “Content Marketing in F1: From Exposure to Engagement” highlights that:

  • Only 24% of sponsors create video content around their sponsorship
  • Most video content fails to gain a significant audience with 66% of those videos achieving less than 1,000 video views on You Tube.
  • Despite a quoted global TV audience of around ½ billion across 185 countries, less than 10% of F1 sponsors create content for use by F1 broadcasters.

Chris Sice, Managing Director of Blended Republic says:

“Formula 1 delivers unrivalled global exposure but most sponsors are struggling to create video content that connects with F1 fans.  The rise of social media and the popularity of F1 on TV present a huge opportunity for sponsors. Audiences crave content about F1 that fuels their passion for the sport.  As the news season dawns, there is enormous scope for those sponsors that can create video so compelling broadcasters will air it and fans share it on social media.”

The report highlights some of the best recent examples of branded videos created by F1 sponsors, summarises the potential benefits and provides a checklist of how F1 sponsors can develop effective branded content.

The key findings from the report can be viewed as an infographic below or check it out at http://www.blendedrepublic.co.uk/insight/f1-content-strategy-report.  

What do you think, are brands missing a trick here?


New Matchday app from O2 brings England rugby fans even closer to Twickenham

O2, sponsor of the RFU and England Rugby this week announced the launch of O2 Matchday, a new free app featuring Ref!Link that brings all the thrills and spills of England rugby action live from Twickenham, directly to fans’ phones across the UK.

Exclusive technology developed by O2 delivers a live feed from the referee’s microphone, providing a unique insight into international rugby. Fans get to know the most important man on the field, hearing each and every judgement call as it is made, while the match is being played.

Launched in the thick of the 2013 RBS 6 Nations, O2 Matchday with Ref!Link  is available for England v France on Saturday 23rd February, and when England play Italy at Twickenham on Sunday 10th March.

O2 Matchday can also be used by rugby fans before each Test weekend to get a match preview, find out how the teams line up head to head, which players to watch out for, and to get more information on the man officiating.  Swot up on the referee before he’s even blown the first whistle, and then using Ref!Link hear every decision he makes.

Live text commentary is streamed in from Twickenham, providing an insightful and alternative view of the game from our man at the match, with a social feed that tracks what the rugby commentators have to say about the match in progress.

The app also holds a mirror up to one of the most difficult man management jobs in the world. Hearing a rugby referee at work will reveal the skills and tactics involved in co-ordinating the fairest and most entertaining game of rugby.

International referee Nigel Owens said: “O2 Matchday is a further example of the transparency that rugby champions, but it is also a brilliant way to show the skills involved in being a great facilitator. I’m excited that the challenges of getting the best out of 30 men will now be available to a bigger audience.”

Mark Stevenson, Head of Priority and Sponsorship at O2 comments: “O2 Matchday allows you about as close to the England rugby action as it’s possible to get. Any closer and you’d be on the pitch. We’ve developed the technology using fan feedback and it will continue to evolve throughout the RBS 6 Nations as rugby lovers put it through its paces. O2 has a strong heritage supporting England and the Ref!Link feature means those fans who can’t journey to Twickenham still get the amazing live stadium experience.”

Jonathan Downey, Ref!Link Director comments: “We’re delighted to be working with O2 to bring Ref!Link to those fans not fortunate enough to be at England games at Twickenham. O2 Matchday allows them to experience what thousands do inside the stadium, a live feed from the ref during the game. Delivering this service with O2 to smartphones is a logical next step and we’re really excited about the development.”

O2 Matchday is available now as a free download at >> http://o2lin.kr/o2matchday

The app is currently available on any iOS mobile handset in the UK, with Android version coming very soon. Wi Fi is recommended. Data usage will be charged at the standard rate according to customers’ data agreement or package. The Ref!Link feature will not work within Twickenham Stadium itself.

Fans attending the match at Twickenham can continue to get closer to the action on pitch by purchasing a Ref!Link from a Ref!Link kiosk at the ground.

O2 Matchday app 1

O2 Matchday app 2

O2 Matchday app 3

Changing The Way We Watch Rugby – And Use Facebook

Watching rugby these days, sports fans are likely to have more than just the remote in one hand and a cold beverage in the other. Making a regular appearance at match time are digital devices – laptops, smartphones, tablets…

This growing trend for “dual-screening” or “second-screening” has inspired adidas to build a cutting-edge Facebook site called adidas Game Day, where All Blacks fans can gather together virtually while they’re watching the match (or if they can’t get to a telly). It ran for the first time last Saturday night during the Bledisloe Cup test.

In the UK, new research by the Internet Advertising Bureau and ESPN has found that more than half (54 per cent) of football fans used a second digital device while watching this year’s UEFA Euro tournament matches on TV*. They were Tweeting, posting on Facebook, placing online bets, following live commentaries and blogs, tracking stats on smart phone apps, emailing fellow fans…

adidas Game Day will provide serious All Blacks fans with an outlet for their dual-screening urges, on a Facebook app like no other,” says adidas Marketing Manager Nadia Scott. “It harnesses the power and reach of Facebook but it doesn’t look like your usual Facebook app. It’s really a conventional website within the Facebook framework, that capitalises on the site’s latest layout capabilities.”

adidas has developed the pioneering site in conjunction with Facebook. It has far more functionality than the standard Facebook pages for businesses, and a unique design custom-created for adidas. adidas Game Day has been developed by boutique Auckland web development company Tailor.

It will be the first home on the web in the world for rugby fans that will offer them the combination of:

• live commentary, including the views of All Blacks greats and other experts;
• a chance to discuss the game as it unfolds through live chat;
• up-to-the-minute game stats, equivalent to those provided to match commentators;
• All Blacks team profiles;
• player line ups for both the All Blacks and their competition, for each fixture;
• online voting on contentious decisions;
• a vote for the man of the match; and
• a link to buy official supporters gear.

The initial line-up of guest commentators is injured All Black Ali Williams, former All Black Andrew Blowers and rugby-mad broadcaster Nathan Rarere.

adidas Game Day is an awesome place to get into the action,” says Ali Williams.

“If there’s one thing Kiwi rugby fans love, it’s having a good argument about an All Blacks game. It’s going to be a great new way to talk rugby, and I’m looking forward to hanging out there in the next few weeks. If I can’t get to the match, this will be the next best thing.” The app, at www.facebook.com/adidasrugby, will also be a hub for All Blacks fans between games, where they can dissect match stats, view fixtures and results, follow links to buy official All Blacks gear, and read and discuss match previews and news from the All Blacks.

In the launch phase, adidas Game Day will only work on computers and tablets viewed through the internet browser. More exciting pioneering functionality will be rolled out in future seasons, including a smartphone app. Details of these advances will be released closer to the time.

* Local stats for dual-screening aren’t available, but sports and entertainment consultancy Gemba New Zealand notes that during last year’s Rugby World Cup internet consumption of rugby union by New Zealanders increased almost four-fold.

Below are some screenshots from the app:


(Disclaimer: adidas Rugby is a client in my day job)

The Socialympics

Iain Taker is an associate lawyer at Kemp Little LLP (iain.taker@kemplittle.com), specialising in commercial contracts, social media and sports law, and is a registered lawyer under the FA Football Agency Regulations. You can follow him on twitter @iaintaker or on LinkedIn


The laws implemented for the London Olympic Games are the most stringent ever introduced by a host country and involve some concepts never previously covered by Olympic legislation.  This article will briefly look at the new legislation that has been enacted, what an infringing act consists of, the defences and exemptions , penalties and gives some suggestions as to what a brand (a non-official sponsor) should do.

July and August this year will see the 30th modern Olympic games in London but interestingly it will be the first time social media will truly be used to embrace the event.  Four years ago in Beijing there was had no official integration with social media platforms a simply amazing thought. At that time the respective user figures for Facebook and Twitter was 100m and 6m. Since then those figures have skyrocketed to 845m and 140m respectively.  One effect of the increased social media awareness is the implementation, and effect, of new legislation that surround and protect the London Olympics.

The commentary below looks at the situation from the perspective of a brand who has no official affiliation with the event.



Direct engagement and dialogue between brands and customers is one of the beauties of social media, which blurs the ‘us’ and ‘them’ distinction. It is this blurring that makes application of the new legislation so difficult. The key pieces of relevant (specific) legislation are:

(1) the ‘Olympic Association Right’ (OAR) and ‘Paralympic Association Right’ (PAR); and
(2) the ‘London Olympic Association Right’ (LOAR).

The OAR was introduced by the Olympic Symbol etc. Protection Act 1995 as amended in 2006 (one amendment was the introduction of PAR). OAR/PAR confer exclusive rights in relation to use of the Olympic Symbol, the Olympic motto and the protected words (for a full list see the LOCOG brand guidance), where such are used without the necessary consent. LOAR was also introduced in the 2006 amendments and grants exclusive rights in relation to any representation, which is likely to suggest to the public that there is an association between the person, goods or services and the Olympic Games in London. It has intentionally been drafted to be vague, broad and far-reaching in order to cover any use which might create an association with the London Olympics. The right has the potential to be most far-reaching and subjective intellectual property right within the UK.

As with all pieces of new legislation there has, and continues to be, significant challenges of interpretation and questions.  Some of the questions are answered by LOCOG’s guidance for brands and advertisers, however the new rules relating to social media are somewhat of a challenge to fully understand.  The result is that there are a number of brands, moderators and digital marketing agencies who are still seeking guidance as to what they are entitled to do and say just weeks before the event commences.



None of the rights will be infringed unless there is use, in the course of trade, in relation to goods or services, where the infringer does not have the Olympics authorities’ consent.  One unusual aspect is that where the brand owner/marketing agency is accused of breaching the OAR/PAR the burden of proof is reversed.  In effect the brand is deemed guilty unless they are able to prove that they are innocent (the opposite is true for any LOAR infringement).  Additional restrictions imposed on brands include prohibitions on using Olympics tickets as part of a competition and holding conferences or seminars on the topic of the Olympics.

When establishing whether an infringement of LOAR has occurred a court may take account of whether the “listed expressions” (see below) have been used.  While the listed expressions are a helpful guide it is not the not thing that a court will look at.  However, when two words from List A are used together or one from List A with one from List B they will be a heavier weighting towards an assumption that an association has been created and thus the brand will have infringed LOAR.

List A words: Games, Two thousand and twelve, 2012 and Twenty twelve.

List B words: Gold, Silver, Bronze, London, Medals, Sponsor and Summer.


Olympic symbols and words can be used where there is an exemption or defence. The two most relevant defences/exemptions to the legislation are where the content is:

1. A statement which “accords with honest practices” – as no association will be created.  LOCOG clarified that key factors will include:

a. is the statement true and accurate?;

b. is there any suggestion or implication of a connection with the Olympics?;

c. is there any unfairness to the interests of the Olympic authorities and sponsors?; and

d. is the context of use relevant?

2. Part of publishing or broadcasting of a report or information about the Olympics. Where there is a genuine journalist report the use will be exempt.  It is important to note that while brands cannot use this exemption to sponsor a news broadcast or conferences, “marketing collateral” (such as corporate newsletters) are exempt.  Whether a brand can report on events via social media channels unhappily remains a grey area.


An important aspect of the preventative nature of the new legislation is the penalties (in addition to adverse publicity) that can be applied for infringements.

Civil penalties

Infringement of OAR/PAR and/or LOAR can result in civil penalties.  The penalties that can incurred include damages, an account of profits, injunctions, order for delivery-up of offending assets, erasure of offending signs and/or disposal.

Criminal penalties

In addition to the civil penalties infringements of OAR/PAR can also result in criminal sanctions.  An example of an infringement which can attract criminal sanctions is if a brand has a view to gain for itself or another, or with an intent to cause loss to another (e.g. an official sponsor) and without the necessary consent applies a controlled representation to goods or packaging. On summary conviction the maximum fine is £20,000 and conviction on indictment the fine is unlimited.

What should a brand do?

It is therefore advisable to only provide social media content that is giving relevant, accurate and factual information.  All pictures, video and audio content should be moderated prior to use to ensure that no association will be conferred by its use.  Additionally brands should update their moderation guidelines to cater for the OAR/PAR and LOAR.

Where a brand is re-tweeting user generated content they must consider the consequences as if the content was initiated by the brand themselves.  Therefore brands should not encourage Olympic themed content from users or pass on specific expressions of support or excitement that refer to the games or individuals within the games. In short wherever there is a risk of an association (or use of symbols or words) with the Olympics brands must be very careful prior to using such content.

Under LOAR a brand cannot be “associated with” the London Olympics, an association is defined as suggesting any kind of contractual or commercial relationship, and kind of corporate connection or provision of financial or other support (such as sponsorship or free services).  Where a brand has any uncertainty over content both generated on their behalf and by users the content should be deleted to avoid any potential further infringement/damage being caused.

LOAR was created in part due to previous ‘creative’ methods of brands in the past to circumvent previous legislation.  Opposed to focussing on set instances that are covered LOAR seeks to focus on the overall impact of an activity.  Therefore brands should look not only to the letter of the new legislation but also to the spirit.  Ambush marketing has been a significant issue in previous Olympic games and the authorities hope that the introduction of the LOAR will prevent it occurring in London.


OAR/PAR and LOAR offer the Olympic authorities more broad and significant rights than ever before in the fight to avoid ambush marketing.  It is however, likely to be a consequence that the first ‘Social Olympics’ will see a number of brands test the boundaries of these pieces of legislation as they seek to engage with their customers.

It is uncertain the extent to which LOCOG will (and will be able to) enforce these powers where a brand is ‘innocently infringing’ with many commentators believing that the powers are predominately there to prevent severe examples of activities that would constitute intentional infringement under the new legislation e.g. Nike during the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.  Professor Simon Chadwick has said that LOCOG will be using specialist intelligence/policing squads in conjunction with agreements with social media sites such as Twitter to police the new legislation.  Whether this will be sufficient or even over-kill awaits to be seen.

The effective result of the introduction of the legislation is a situation where many brands are still having difficulty in establishing exact guidelines as what they are permitted to do without infringing. Helpful guidance can however be found at The Guardian and the Committee of Advertising Practice.

#RonaldoLIVE – fans get chance to challenge Real Madrid star

Last year Castrol EDGE presented Ronaldo Tested to the Limit, an award-winning documentary that showed the Portugal and Real Madrid forward showcase his strengths in a series of captivating challenges in the most scientific examination of a player ever undertaken.  #RonaldoLIVE will showcase the star player’s legendary skills, strength and agility.

Now, to celebrate the release of the documentary for free on iTunes, Castrol EDGE and Ronaldo are counting down to one more epic challenge, and this time – in a ground-breaking twist – Ronaldo’s fans will get to test his skill for themselves live on Facebook.

Fans are being asked to take part in the challenge – #RonaldoLIVE – by signing up on facebook.com/castrolfootball to be in with a chance of going head to head with Ronaldo on Thursday 17th May.

#RonaldoLIVE will be the world’s first interactive football challenge streamed live through Facebook from a state-of-the-art testing facility in Madrid. In the test, inspired by Ronaldo and Castrol EDGE’s Twitter followers, Ronaldo will face a barrage of footballs fired at him from chutes suspended above and he will have to receive, control and shoot each ball into one of four goals that surround him before the next ball is released.

Of the first 100,000 fans that connect to the #RonaldoLIVE Facebook app to watch live, fans will be selected at random to take part in the action, by selecting Ronaldo’s target and choosing the goals that he must shoot into.

Will Ronaldo have the lightning quick reaction speed, shooting accuracy and strength under pressure to control and successfully strike each ball? Or will his fans’ selections prove too much of a test?

All the action will be streamed live on both Castrol EDGE and Ronaldo’s Facebook pages (facebook.com/castrolfootball & facebook.com/Cristiano) on Thursday 17th May.  For fans that miss out on the live action, a mini-film will be released on Wednesday 23rd on youtube.com/castroledge and castroledge.com/ronaldo

Be interesting to see how many fans tune in and how exciting the action will be.  It’s an interesting follow up event by the guys at M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment.