Companies here will be prevented from engaging in "ambush marketing" ahead of and during the Beijing Olympics, in a bid to protect the rights of official sponsors, a spokesman for the Games' organizing committee said yesterday.
Chen Feng, deputy director of the marketing department of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), said at a press meeting that a range of measures will be introduced to prevent the illegal practice.
"Ambush marketing refers to the attempts by firms that are not official Olympic sponsors to associate their products with the event so they can capitalize on the connection without paying for the right to do so," Chen said.
BOCOG and the China Advertising Association jointly issued an official anti-ambush advertising proposal yesterday, calling for "lawful, professional and ethical" practices by advertising practitioners to protect the rights of Olympic sponsors and the holders of intellectual property rights relating to the Games.
"Some businesses intentionally commit ambush marketing, while many others, out of enthusiasm for the Games, unintentionally violate the rules because of a lack of knowledge of Olympic-related IPR rules," Chen said.
From July 11 to Sept 17, all prominent advertising sites in Beijing - including those at the airport, railway stations, main streets and areas around Olympic venues - will be controlled and priority will be given to official Olympic sponsors, he said.
Companies will be monitored for illegal advertising or using Olympic symbols without authorization and violators will be punished, he said.
Individuals will also be watched for possible ambush advertising practices, which are banned by the rules printed on all Games tickets.
For example, if a row of spectators is found to be wearing the same logo on their clothes at a Beijing Olympic venue, they will be asked to conceal the brand names.
Similarly, people will not be allowed to take drinks into venues and once inside will be able to buy only Coca-Cola, the global partner of the International Olympic Committee.
Yang Hongfeng, deputy secretary-general of the China Advertising Association, yesterday urged the country's 170,000 advertising agencies and their 1.1 million employees to respect the new Olympic marketing rules and guard against ambush marketing.
Under the new ruling, from Aug 1-27, all advertisements featuring participants in the Beijing Olympics - including athletes, coaches and officials - will be suspended.
Also, television stations will be prohibited from using unofficial sponsors for Olympic-related programs, he said.