IOC Olympic Social-Media Guidelines: Protecting Sponsors and the Games
Posted on July 26th, 2012 by The PointBurst Team
The 2012 Summer Olympics kicks off Friday, July 27, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sent out strict guidelines outlining the allowed use of social media by Olympic athletes and those staying in the Olympic Village, long before athletes began arriving in London. This is being hailed as the first ever social or as one IOC official has called it, “conversational” Olympic Games, complete with an official IOC created social hub, and the guidelines are an attempt to be prepared for just about anything.
The world has changed a lot since the last Olympics, and the IOC has attempted to change right along with it and adapt to the new digital landscape by integrating social elements into their own coverage (please see our earlier blog post on the Social Olympics), and preparing for the swarm of tweets, videos, and other social commentary that is sure to be as much a part of the event as the Games themselves. The Olympics are a business, and as such, the IOC Executive Board is acting like any executive committee in the corporate world, and endeavoring to protect their business, their brand, and perhaps most importantly, their strategic relationships – official Olympic sponsors – by putting into place an official policy surrounding acceptable use of social media by representatives of their company – the “athletes and other accredited persons.”
The IOC Social Media, Blogging and Internet Guidelines cover everything from postings, blogs and tweets, to the use of video, still-photos, URLs, and of course, the use of the Olympic Symbol (the Olympic Rings) on any social communications. The IOC has even created a website, olympicgamesmonitoring.com, where they hope people will report any “unauthorized use of our material” to protect “the integrity of rights-holding broadcasters and sponsor rights” and to ensure that the spirit of “the Olympic Charter is maintained.” As stated in a great article in AdAge, the London 2012 guidelines are quite a change from the simple “blogging guidelines” created for the Vancouver Olympic Games. The social media guidelines for the London Olympics extend to include not just the rules lined out by the IOC, but those of each country’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) as well.
With the huge amounts of money brands are paying for Olympic Sponsorship, and pouring into campaigns surrounding the event, the IOC has a lot to protect. A full list of worldwide Olympic Partners can be found here. One of the brands paying millions to be an Olympic Sponsor, P&G, is launching the largest multi-brand program in company history, hoping to expand its reach worldwide and drive $500 million in sales, per a report in the The Washington Post. Wow! We will be covering some of the social media marketing campaigns revolving around the Olympics in future posts, stay tuned!
With all of the different social media platforms utilized across the world, and thousands of athletes participating in the 2012 Olympics, the IOC is going to have a tough time monitoring it all. But, when violations are found, they (the IOC and each country’s NOC) are swift to take action. Already before the games, two Australian swimmers have been served a social-media ban by the Australian Olympic Committee for tweeting photos deemed inappropriate. (The pair posed with guns during a U.S. training trip.) The ban is in place for one month, beginning July 16. And yesterday, with the Games about to start, a triple jump athlete was removed from Greece’s Olympic team for posting a comment on Twitter July 22 that was disparaging of African immigrants in Greece. The tweet was retweeted over a hundred times. The athlete immediately posted an apology on her Facebook page, but she isn’t going to the London Olympics.
So Olympic athletes, please remember to mind your social media manners and abide by the IOC (and NOC) social media guidelines, for we are excited to see you compete! Bring on the opening ceremony, and let the 2012 Summer Olympics begin! Good luck to all!
@thepointburst #SocialOlympics #London2012