Event organisers urged 'to be careful when using Olympics'

21st December 2010

Preparations for the 2012 Olympics are well underway with new venues being built across London and athletes upping their training regimes.

Hundreds of events will be held to coincide with the London Olympics, but organisers have been warned that they need to be careful about how they go about this.

Pete Moore from Iluka, the official event agency for the Games, told Meetpie.com that extreme caution needs to be used by those organising Olympic-themed events if they want to avoid being sued.

"Be careful about using the branding because they'll be watching everything you do. LOCOG [London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games] has a brand protection team that regularly searches for branding infringements," he said,

This is something Paul Southern, director of Black Swan Events, also believes organisers need to be wary of.

"If the organiser wanted to produce its own non-official London Olympics event then there are complications that need to be addressed surrounding the brand of London 2012 and how it is used," he advised.

He said that there is a difference between a local church organisation and a company hosting such an event, but warned that using the London 2012 brand will be considered illegal.

"The best advice for a corporate organisation would be firstly to check the guidelines set out on the London 2012 website, and if there is any doubt contact the site and advise the sponsorship division of your intentions," he advised.

However, Mr Southern also noted that the Olympics provides plenty of opportunities for organisers.

"The London 2012 Olympics will give event organisers a number of opportunities to deliver new experiences for their clients, and is also an opportunity to develop new relationships by giving their clients the 'once in a lifetime' event," he said.

Companies could arrange to attend an official Olympic event, he noted, which would offer a unique experience.

Mr Southern advised that businesses which are planning to do this still need to consider a wide number of factors, including ensuring that guests can get access to and from the specific locations of the event.

"The organiser would also need to consider that there will be a shortage of value for money accommodation in the London area," he said, adding that the aim should be to secure accommodation early or arrange smooth transfers to and from the venue.

Another factor to consider is that not everyone will be excited about the Olympics, whether it is because of the crowds, the location or a dislike of sports, he noted.

Mr Southern stated that event organisers need to ensure they are considering what their target audience is interested in.

"A huge amount of money can be ploughed into an Olympic event, but if the client is more interested in opera then that money is wasted," he advised.

Gold Ribbon events, which are normally held around the time of the athletic finals, usually attract the most interest from companies and therefore cost more to attend.

But there is another option for organisers who are tasked with taking a contingent to the Olympics, he said, advising that choosing a less mainstream event or an early stage in a particular sport and then building an Olympic experience around is often a good idea.

The expert concluded: "If the event organiser does have a large budget they will have a fantastic experience by booking through the official site; for organisers with lower budgets they will need to be more creative."