With the Olympic Winter Games kicking off last week, many local businesses will choose to celebrate by decorating or advertising Olympic-friendly specials. Levy’s suggestion is to just not do it. Team USA and the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) have strict rules and guidelines with promoting symbols or athletes. But, she said, “if a bar wanted to celebrate figure skating in general it could do so during a figure skating telecast, so long as it otherwise complied with the guidelines. But should a bakery make Olympic-ring cakes? No! Can a sports bar decorate with Olympic rings festooned throughout? No!”
The guidelines extend to social media as well. “The guidelines are very clear that businesses may not use USOC trademarks without permission, nor its hash tags,” Levy said. “Their stated rationale for this is that without strict regulations on the use of its trademarks — i.e., only authorized sponsors may use the trademarks — it’s difficult to maintain those sponsorships and keep the funding that sends athletes to the Olympics. So that’s why non-sponsor, non-journalistic businesses are forbidden to use hash tags, trademarks, images of athletes during the Games, or pretty much anything else.”
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“Business Beware: Olympic Brands are Aggressively Protected,” The Colorado Springs Business Journal. February 8, 2018.