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Brazilian Law Prohibits Ambush Marketing During Olympics

Brazilian Law Prohibits Ambush Marketing During Olympics

With the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics starting on August 5, there is less than one month until the competition begins. As part of the preparation for the games, on May 10, 2016, changes were made by Brazilian officials to the 2009 Olympic Act. The updated Brazilian law now prohibits companies from engaging in illegal ambush marketing.

The new legislation looks at two types of ambush marketing: “ambush marketing by association” and “ambush marketing by intrusion.” First, “ambush marketing by association” is marketing in which a company directly or indirectly associates itself with the Olympics without authorization. Making this illegal is to prevent companies that have not sponsored the games from implying, through their marketing, that they are associated with the games. Second, “ambush marketing by intrusion” is marketing by companies that advertise or otherwise promote their company at the official Olympic venues without authorization. Because the official Olympic venues cover most of the city, this prevents non-official sponsors from marketing even near the games in most instances.

Overall, the focus of the amended ambush marketing legislation is to protect the companies that have paid to be official sponsors for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. According to the original Olympic Act, it is ambush marketing when a company uses “graphically distinctive signs, flags, mottos, emblems and anthems used by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)” when the company is not authorized to use them. A company may also not use any form of the terms “Olympic Games” or “Paralympic Games” in their advertising without authorization. The use of similar terms and phrases, such as “Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” “XXXI Olympic Games,” and “Rio Paralympics,” is prohibited as well.

The use of symbols and trademarks, such as the mascots and other symbols associated specifically with the games, when unauthorized, is also prohibited by the legislation. It is important to note that while much of the focus is on preventing companies from using these symbols without authorization, the legislation forbids the unauthorized use of any symbols associated with the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, even when the symbols are not being used for commercial purposes. Violators of the ambush marketing restrictions could face jail time and fines.

Jeffrey Greenbaum, Chairman of the Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA), warns:

As global marketers prepare to launch campaigns in Brazil during the Olympics, they should ensure that their advertising complies with Brazil’s tough new restrictions.

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