Rule 40 and Ambush Marketing

By Chris Vallerie

Wondering why you haven’t seen any advertisements featuring Olympic Stars such as Shaun White on tv recently? Thats because of IOC Rule 40. After a company supports an athlete financially through years of training, they can’t even run ads promoting their athletes over the course of the games.

Rule 40 of the IOC charter states: “Except as permitted by the IOC executive board, no competitor, coach, trainer or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games.”

With the Olympics top sponsors paying upwards of $100 million, the IOC thinks its necessary to block all other companies from getting a piece of the Olympic pie. However, many companies have found ways to get around this rule. Take GoPro for example; they make cameras for actions sports that can be mounted anywhere from your helmet to the front of a bobsled. They are not an official sponsor but they are smack dab in the middle of the Olympics. When Shaun White walked into the opening ceremony, his GoPro was in hand for millions of viewers to watch him use. When NBC needs a course preview video of bobsleding, it just happens to be that a GoPro is attached to the sled showing the world what a GoPro is capable of.

Shaun White using GoPro during opening ceremony

Shaun White using GoPro during opening ceremony


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