Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow 2014: Firms warned over unauthorised marketing

Games banners in Glasgow
Image caption Only official Games sponsors can use official branding on any advertising or promotional material

Companies could fall foul of the law if they try to run Commonwealth Games-related marketing activities without authorisation, a law firm has warned.

Miller Hendry said use of the Games symbol and all official branding associated with the event was regulated by law.

Some words, phrases and mottoes are also covered - including generic terms such as 2014, Gold, Silver and Bronze.

The law firm said companies should make themselves aware of the restrictions.

Alan Matthew, a partner with Miller Hendry, which has no connection to the Games, said: "From 23 July until 3 August, we expect to see many businesses and organisations attempting to take advantage of the incredible hype surrounding the Commonwealth Games by running Games-related promotions, advertising campaigns and events.

"But, before they do, they need to make sure they are fully aware of what is, and what is not, permitted to ensure they are not exposing themselves to serious commercial risk.

"With the exception of official sponsors, businesses and organisations certainly cannot use any of the official branding on any advertising or promotional material or on any of their products, but they also can't use any key terms - many of which are broad and fairly general.

"It is also unlawful to falsely represent any association or affiliation with the Commonwealth Games.

"This poses a significant commercial risk to small businesses wishing to run Commonwealth Games-themed promotions during the events and the organising committee have already confirmed they intend to enforce their rights to protect their big-name sponsors.

"Scottish businesses who may have 'chanced' it during the 2012 Olympics will find the policing of the Commonwealth Games branding right on their doorstep this year."

'Potential for confusion'

However, Mr Matthew said the Commonwealth Games' regulations were not as clearly defined as those for the Olympics, "creating the potential for confusion".

"An example of this is where the Olympics made a very clear provision for small businesses, like pubs, bars, lounges and hotels who were screening the events live on TV as an 'event'," he said.

"For the Olympics, they had clear guidelines and official posters which could be downloaded to promote the events.

"For the Commonwealth Games, there is no provision for this type of activity, which largely implies that anyone writing "See the Commonwealth Games Live Here" on a poster and popping it outside their local may be getting themselves into potentially murky legal waters."

Mr Matthew said businesses and organisations were entitled to show support and enthusiasm for the Games "so long as this is done in a way which does not associate promotion of the business or organisation with the Games".

"For example, businesses can display flags or national colours to show support for home or visiting nations, or hold an office party to celebrate the Games," he pointed out.

'Working with businesses'

A Glasgow 2014 spokeswoman said the event was a major opportunity for Scotland and Scottish business "to showcase itself to the world".

"Since the Glasgow Commonwealth Games (Trading and Advertising) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 came into force last year, we have been working with businesses locally in and around our venues to make sure they can get the most out of the Games, be clear on what the regulations will mean for them and how they can be part this fantastic event," she added.

"Glasgow 2014, in conjunction with legal advisers Harper Macleod LLP, have held a series of events and seminars letting business organisations know how they can prepare for the Games and maximise their engagement without infringing legislation or regulations.

"It will be a special time and we want people to enjoy the Glasgow 2014 experience as much as possible."

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