Ad Campaigns that Have Probably P***ed off the Olympics Committee

The London Olympics committee have come under fire about the stringent branding rules. And where there are tough rules, there’s always someone looking to skirt them or disregard them altogether. Recently, there have been some ad campaigns that have raised eyebrows at Locog HQ.


Paddy Power’s Poster – Ambush Marketing?

Paddy Power has flouted the rules on ambush marketing altogether…. in my humble opinion that is. But I love what they’ve done. It’s inspired. The betting company put this poster up in London:

paddy power ambush marketing?

Inspired marketing integrated really well with their social media campaign.

This campaign was not a lie! Paddy Power actually went out and sponsored and event in London, France so they could boast about it in London, UK. Organisers, Locog, asked the advertising board providers to remove the ad because it they claimed it broke the rules and in response, Paddy Power announced it would take the committee to court. They then took to their Facebook page to drum up some support from their fans.

paddy power poster facebook support

Taking LOCOG to court? Paddy Power’s fans seem to like that!

Not long after, the London game committee reversed their decision and Paddy Power won their battle without needing to go legal. A victory for common sense?


Nike’s ‘London’ Athletes

Nike has produced posters showing various athletes in different places called London around the world. Here’s the sort of thing…

Nike ad running during Olympics 2012

Gee… guess what they’re referring to.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the games committee. The Guardian reported on Friday, though, that Locog will not be taking any legal action against Nike.


This wasn’t ambush marketing at all and actually, I would imagine this was not even a concern for LOCOG. But I’m including it for creativity and timeliness. When the women’s football got underway last week, Specsavers spied an opportunity for advertising gold. As the North Korea team was being announced at Hampden Park, the South Korean flag was shown next to their photos. This really pi**ed the team off and they refused to leave their dressing room. The match did eventually kick off an hour late.

Hampden Park South Korean Flag

You don’t have to have a PHD in politics to know this probably isn’t good. (Image from Daily Mail website).

The following day, Specsavers had a promoted post on Twitter highlighting their response to this somewhat laughable mistake. Their own ad created in response makes no specific reference to the Olympics, doesn’t flout any branding rules and is, instead, just a timely piece of marketing genius.

specsavers olympic ad

“Should have gone to Specsavers” written in Korean.

More Marketing Stunts to Come?

I’m sure there’ll be more to come before the games are over. Personally, I LOVE what Paddy Power did. It was witty, tongue in cheek and a stroke of genius. LOCOG might not agree!