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Pirates of the Olympic century

3 (2009)
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Steering Committee of «Sochi–2014» convinces Russians that the «Olympic symbols are not a public ownership».

While business sharks pay huge money for the monopoly on the Olympic brands, these brands are already available in goods and services market in Russia. According to the data of the Organization Committee «Sochi-2014», since the beginning of this year there have been detected more than 200 cases of illegal use of the Olympic symbols. 80% of cases of infringement happened in the Krasnodar region, 20% are of mass character. In this respect Russia left behind China and is already coming close to Greece.

A piece of the Olimpics

The procedure of preparation of the contracts to use Olympic symbols started on January 1, 2009. But while the official mechanism is at its start pirates are more flexible and can already reap the fruits of their labor. One of the major market segments is clothes. While the victory of Sochi was still on its way, one could get a complete set of Olympic outwear in market places of the resort.

T-shirts, skirts, shorts, slippers, baseball caps and socks with the Olympic rings and snowflakes with inscriptions «Sochi-2014» were sold at knock-down prices of around 300 rubles. Basically, the orders for «patriotic clothes» were placed in Turkey. But the demand was so great that Russian underworld manifacturers had to join efforts with foreign producers.

After Sochi had been chosen to be the Olympic capital the conveyer which started so successfully began to gain momentum. Novorossiysk customs arrested containers with clothes with Olympic symbolics: sunbonnets, jampers, t-shirts, total weight of more than 40 tonns. Rostov customs officers found 31.5 thousand pairs of socks with embroided Olympic rings on a steamer which came from Turkey.

Another sphere which is being actively developed by pirates is a gastronomic one. Magic Olympic symbols started to appear on sweets, pelmeni (ravioli), croutons and even laminaria. The Bank of Moscow issued mutual fund of shares — «Olympiysky prospect-Sochi — 2014». It was explained in the press-centre of the bank that there is no direct indication on the games in this name, and that «all our products are connected with the streets names». Nevertheless the word «Sochi» was deleted. Kit-Finance bank after the Federal Communications Agency's interference renamed «Olympic mortgage» into «The Mortgage of the housing acquisition in Sochi».

Olympic intoxication

Participants of the alcohol market of Russia have developed a great polemic regarding connection of vodka and the Olympic games. It was initiated by the «Trend» holding company, established in March 2007 and considered a «dark horse». At the same period of time Rospatent got applications for the registration of 16 brands connected with the Olympic topic. One of the greatest alcohol cases is applying sanctions against the oldest in the country champagne factory «Abrau Dyurso». According to the data from the public prosecutions department of Krasnodar territory, the factory solemnly started production of the Olympic champagne and declared that in year 2014 this wine would be given to the Olympic Games' heroes. On the labels a snowflake and «SOCHI 2014» symbol were used.

«Abrau Dyurso» was fined 100 thousand rubles by the regional Office of the Federal Antimonopoly Service. But the factory didn't admit its guilt and appealed against this antimonopolists' decision in the Novorossiysk court. The factory lawyers' arguments were the following: the word «Olympic» is widely used and there is no violation in using it.

«Vineksim» company made a creative brand — «Putinka-2014.Myagkaya». There were some attempts to bring the company to responsibility, but very professional markteing specialists who work there were able to make this impression. There is no monopoly for figures «2014», that is why situation with «Putinka» is still ambiguous. In these arguments the following question has moved in the middle distance: specification of the official bodies about the fact that the alcohol manufacturers are prohibited to use Olympic symbolics and place advertising during the Olympic events.

Everything around is Olympic, everything around — whose is this?

Marketing specialists make the following forecasts: along with the Games coming closer there will be more and more people who want to make out of the Olympic Games. «The manufacturers pay special attention on this association with the Sochi's topic in order to make their brands better recognizable», — thinks the general director of the brand-agency BBDO Moscow Turkhan Makhmudov.

Use of the trade marks of the Olympic games-2014 is managed by the Olympic law. But if it's possible to settle everything with big compaies, because for big business it's important to keep its fair name, it is much more diffi cult to fight with small manufacturers and producers. Private traders sell small consignments of the pirated goods unoffi cially and it is extremely hard to prove their guilt and to punish them.

The organization committee «Sochi-2014» placed its stake on the informationand-explanatory work. Saving the Olympic games by simply preventive actions is not possible — believes Federation Counsil speaker, Sergey Mironov. He made a radical suggestion: «You who have sold — go to jail!». «Why did the pirated goods disappear at the Olympic Games in Beijing so fast? — asks the senator of the Krasnodar territory Aleksandr Pochinok. — Because China assumed strict measures. And in Russia the level of punishment equals nothing». We should say that the senator didn't mention the fact that the authorities in China passed and pubished the directive about renumeration for any information about intellectual property right violation in connection with the symbols of the Olympic Games-2008. Anyone who helped to reveal something «olympic» illegal got 5% of the penalty amount. The maximum amount of compensation was$14 thousand. An extreemely strict approach will set people against the Olympics — warns Dmitry Chernyshenko.

Heinsists on loyal methods: «People are sure that the Olympic symbolics are the public ownership. It isnecessary to explain that this is not».

“We want to spread panic…”

On the threshold of the Olympics–2004 in Athens “Playboy” magazine published pictures of naked sportswomen. They wore only Olympic rings. American jumper Emmy Akuff, German fencer Britta Khaidermann, ice-hockey player from select team of Germany Fany Rinn, American swimmer Amanda Berd were among the models. International Olympic Committee (IOC) brought an action against the magazine because of illegal use of the Olympic symbols during erotic shooting. Athenian court dismissed the case. After disclosing its intention to fine the periodical IOC heard a buzz of disapprovals from everywhere in the world. Nevertheless in Greece they took serious measures to protect the Olympic brands. Specially created groups patrolled streets and squares of Athens on the instruction of the Steering Committee of the Olympics–2004. According to the director general on marketing of the Steering Committee — “We want to spread panic among dishonest dealers”.

“Sports make you healthy”

Promotional posters advertising condoms with symbols of Olympics –2008 were produced in China. Contraceptives depicted basketball ring, bicycle wheels, shooting mark, and gymnastic rings. “Sports make you healthy”, — said the advertising slogan. The firm-producer of condoms was the first one, which joined together sports and sex by means of marketing.

Taboo on summer

The Steering Committee of London–2012 introduced a proposal to the “Olympics” draft on termination of such words as “summer”, “London”, “gold”, “silver”, “bronze”. Those companies, which break the law, shall pay a fine in the amount of 20 thousand pounds. British advertisers are angry with the excessive eagerness in interpretation of IOC rules.


Author: Irina Varlamova