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Our USOC-Approved Ad Campaign - And Why We Decided Not to Run It

Jul 21, 2016

Brand

There are some basic tenets of advertising. 

Among them, none two are more important than a FOCUSED MESSAGE that is delivered during a strategically RELEVANT TIME PERIOD.

The "relaxed" Rule 40 guidelines released last summer, purportedly giving non-official sponsors like Oiselle the opportunity to stay connected with their athletes during the blackout period, is in direct conflict with these basic principles.

For smaller companies like Oiselle, it reduces the benefits of participation in the program to a practically nonexistent level.

And if you scrutinize it further, you could qualify participation in relaxed Rule 40 as a surcharge - as small companies are essentially forced to spend scarce marketing dollars on a campaign that does not have a focused or relevant message.

Here are the requirements of the relaxed Rule 40 guidelines, approved last year, following backlash from athletes and industry players in the 2012 Big Event.

1. Your campaign must be created and approved by the USOC in Jan/Feb 2016.
Mind you, before anyone has made the Big Event Team.

2. You are prohibited from using the restricted terms - or congratulatory messages
Off the table are "Olympics, Olympiad, Olympic Games, Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Road to Rio, Summer, Games, Competition, Gold, Medal, Silver..." (*) there are more. * Note my use of these terms here are not intended to confuse you into believing that we are a sponsor of the Big Event in Brazil. Nor can we say simple things like "Go Kate!"

3. You must run your campaign continuously from March 2016 through the Big Event.
"Long, expensive, and non-relevant." - said an ad man or woman, never.

4. If your athlete is already an Olympian, "you need to dilute the Olympic accomplishment by listing non-Olympic accomplishments."
Again, a call to make the creative less effective.

Despite the loss of focus, relevance, and respect, we decided to create and submit a campaign anyway.

After some back and forth ("please dilute further," and "do not use Team USA" for an athlete who had been on Team USA), the below campaign was approved.

Come March 2016, we decided to not start running the campaign. Because it is generic and non-relevant, it is not effective enough to justify the cost.

In advance of the blackout period (starts next week, July 27th) - please enjoy this USOC-approved but not-implemented ad campaign.

Designed with the look and feel of vintage boxing posters... if nothing else, you know we'll keep fighting.

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View all 10 here on Pinterest! Sneak peek below.

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