From today, with exactly 100 days until the Opening Ceremony, the countdown to the London Olympic and Paralympic Games has truly begun. With all eyes on our fair city in the build up to the Games, momentum is growing ahead the biggest marketing opportunity this year for businesses and we expect to see a final sprint towards the finish line. A number of advertisers are running sports-themed campaigns to participate in the excitement surrounding the forthcoming event. We would of course urge all advertisers, marketers and indeed businesses, to pay close attention to the various restrictions surrounding the use of Olympic mottos, symbols and imagery and any attempt to tie-in with the Games by companies in an unofficial capacity. Please see our Ad Guide on the subject for more information. One important restriction is found in Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter. It provides that no participants in the Games (meaning athletes, coaches, trainers and officials but not competitors in previous Games) may take part in any promotional activity during what is known as the “Games Period”. The LOCOG guidance on Rule 40 states that this runs from 18 July 2012 until three days after the Closing Ceremony on 15 August 2012. This means that for a short time before the start of the Games and a few days afterwards, without express permission from the IOC Executive Board, no participants can allow their personal appearance, name, picture or sports performance (at the 2012 Games themselves or any recent historical performance) to be used in any advertising, PR, in-store or on-product promotions, or any other promotional activity on corporate sites, social networks or blogs. LOCOG’s definition of promotional activity is wide and intended not to be finite. If participants fail to comply, they could face fines and even disqualification. So, for advertisers and marketers wishing to use any participants in the Games for any promotional purposes, of course in line with the LOCOG’s general restrictions, the race is on to do so before the start of the Games Period. Please contact one of our team if you are interested in finding out more.