Posted September 25, 2008 9:35 am by with 13 comments

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2012 Games

The Games of Twenty Twelve

London 2012

Summer Games

Any of the above phrases could land me a $40,000 fine, if Marketing Pilgrim were based in the United Kingdom. You see, the Olympics Act of 2006 specifically bans the use of terms such as:

…2012, games, gold, silver and bronze in combination except by those who are official sponsors of the Olympic Games and allows the Games’ authorities to control advertising around the venues used in the Games.

The law is so restrictive, you can’t even use "Summer 2012" in any of your advertising.

The law means that advertisers cannot use any two of the following terms together: ‘Games’, ‘Two thousand and twelve’, ‘2012’ and ‘Twenty twelve’. Neither can they use one of those terms in conjunction with any of: ‘Gold’, ‘Silver’, ‘Bronze’, ‘London’, ‘Medals’, ‘Sponsors’, ‘Summer’. Breaking the terms of the Act could result in a £20,000 fine.

This, according to, is too severe and many UK advertisers have no idea of how this legislation effects them--just 14% of those polled, understand the 2006 Act.

While you can sympathize with the Olympics–after all they don’t want big companies mentioning the Olympics, when others have paid licensing fees to do so–you might want to say a prayer for the small business owners who are blissfully unaware that their next print ad might put them out of business.

P.S. Keep in mind that this is in a country where just 2 complaints can get your ad booted from TV.


  • Does this apply to advertising and PPC only?
    Or it applies if you mention any of the keywords in an article/post.


    Infonote’s last blog post..Updates from Kissing – Now look what you´ve gone and done..

  • @Infonote – I’m not an expert in UK law–I suspect that it applies only to advertising (of any kind). My tongue was in cheek, when I suggested this post could cost me $40k. 😉

  • Can you provide a link to an online copy of the act? I can understand why the government would not want the advertising space for the Olympic games compromised but if the law really is that restrictive would it not face a legal challenge?

    Michael Martinez’s last blog post..IBM Improves Similar Sites Search

  • Wow that is unbelievable! It sounds like something China would do – certaily not the UK.

  • Jordan McCollum

    Crap. Better scrap my ads for my UK furniture store advertising no interest on financing until Summer 2012.

  • LMAO @ Jordan! What if you owned a jewelry store? “No interest on all Gold jewelry until Summer 2012” 😉

  • we’re doing SEO/PPC in Canada and it seems to be the same for the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, some of our customer into the tourism industry cannot use all of the related olympics terms

    nicolask7’s last blog post..By: Richard Désormeau

  • Joel

    “Crap. Better scrap my ads for my UK furniture store advertising no interest on financing until Summer 2012.” Michael Martinez

    If you read further to this page this is de-bunked…

  • I see a very clever conspiracy between the law makers and the very crafty British legal system! A lot of lawyers will make a lot of money advising others on how to circumvent the laws!!

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Most Value Packed Cars

  • There are similar laws here in the states regarding the Supur Bowl.

    Dennis Edell’s last blog post..New Feature! Link Love For Your Thoughts

  • Again it warned me that I added the sum wrong above…2+3?

    Please check the plugin 🙂

    Dennis Edell’s last blog post..New Feature! Link Love For Your Thoughts

  • Wow that is crazy, looks like they will be making a lot of money from people who don’t know about it

  • Jeez.. Thats pathetic. They can’t control the world ads.I wonder what will happen to those domainers registering a lot of Olympics 2012 domains..emm..