The Summer Olympics is one of the most heavily marketed events in the world every four years. In order to sponsor the Olympics you better have some deep pockets like that of McDonalds, Coca-Cola, and Procter and Gamble. Companies like these are official Olympic Sponsors and yes, they have very deep pockets. But we all know that in todays world of social media even small companies can afford to get their name out there during the Olympics. After all, just about all of these athletes do have corporate sponsors and so their is nothing stopping an Olympian for promoting that sponsor on Twitter or Facebook right? Wrong.
The International Olympic Committee has a rule titled “Rule 40″ that is barring the promotion of any non-official Olympic sponsor from getting any promotion of any kind during the Olympic games from the athletes that they do, in fact, officially sponsor. This rule encompasses social media.
What’s the issue here? Well, their are over 10,500 Olympic athletes participating in this years games and the majority of them do not make money off of their sport especially athletes from the United States. Social Media actually gives these athletes an opportunity to promote their sponsors during the Olympics. This is an opportunity they have never had before.
Now, I agree that the Olympic Games are not about money. But we are not talking about adding brands to the uniforms or making Olympic athletes look like Nascar Drivers. We are simply talking about mostly very humble, young, quaint athletes using social media to thank some of the companies that helped get them there via social media. I do not see the harm.