Susan's Super Citizen Showcase

Monday, February 16, 2009

Why and how is VANOC protecting the Olympic brand?

The answer to this question is very very complicated - but Bill Cooper, Director, Commercial Rights Management for VANOC took on the challenge at today's IABC/BC - Vancouver Sun Speaker Series lunch event at Steamworks Brewing Company Uber Lounge in gastown, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Bill explained that VANOC is charged with the responsibility of protecting the Olympics brand in Canada as a provision for having the games here - responsible to the International Olympic Committee. The Canadian government enacted new legislation, The Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act, to back up this responsibility.

Only certain groups are allowed to use the Olympic brand, including: official 2010 winter games merchandise companies; authentic ticket sellers (no resellers); official sponsors, licencees, and government partners with "exclusive rights to access the marks, images, and stories that make the Olympic and Paralympic Brand a sought-after marketing tool." VANOC's approach is (to quote from their booklet "Real 2010: Protecting the Brand"): "to educate the marketplace on how to appropriately align with the 2010 Winter Games while respecting the exclusive commercial rights of the marketing partners."

VANOC is monitoring the media, including online sites which are easily swept and filtered, and investigating infringements on the brand. VANOC considers six factors when investigating a potential case of unfair use of the brand. Much much more information from VANOC on protecting the Olympic brand is at the official Vancouver 2010 website.

"We're not just being some grumpy brand protection person sitting in a cubicle being grumpy," Bill said with a laugh, as he explained how he and his team assess each case using criteria that quantifies their "concern level" with the infringement. He said 95 percent of brand infringements are resolved through voluntary compliance. "Despite some of the headlines and fear-mongering, we're not in court."


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