Tokyo Olympics: PV Sindhu & her marketing firm ready to sue 15 brands, notices to be sent on Monday

Tokyo Olympics - PV Sindhu to Sue Brands
Tokyo Olympics: PV Sindhu will be sending notices to 15 companies for using her name and pictures in advertisements without her consent

Tokyo Olympics – PV Sindhu to Sue Brands: India has won its biggest ever medal haul at the Tokyo Olympics with 7 medals.  The success of Indians at the Olympics has presented brands with the perfect opportunity for “moment marketing”. Some of the top brands are now being accused of taking advantage of the these highs for Indian athletes for visibility and traction. According to the information available, double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu will be sending notices to 15 companies for using her name and pictures in advertisements without her consent.

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According to Baseline Ventures, the sports marketing firm that represent PV Sindhu’s commercial interests, Sindhu is very upset abut the way brands & advertisers have seized this opportunity leveraging her reach and achievement at the Olympics. The firm has declared that they will be serving notices to 15 brands in this respect.

Tokyo Olympics: PV Sindhu & her marketing firm ready to sue 15 brands, notices to be sent on Monday

Tokyo Olympics – PV Sindhu to Sue Brands: The brands to whom notices will be served include Happydent (Perfetti), Pan Bahar, Eureka Forbes, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Vodafone Idea, MG Motor, UCO Bank, PNB, SBI, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Fino Payments Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Indian Bank, Wipro Lighting.

In repeated messages on various social media platforms, Sindhu’s brand managers are naming and shaming the brands who have indulged in this ‘moment marketing’ without her consent. In one of the post, Baseline Venture raised following point – 

Talking about the impact such a move has on a celebrity, Yashwanth Biyyala, Director – Talent and Partnerships at Baseline Ventures, wrote on LINKEDIN, “It is damaging for a celebrity. But now the bigger problem is that International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s rule 40 stops Sindhu from endorsing any of her partners today.”

“Brands that are sponsoring Sindhu are unable to put congratulatory post for the athlete due to rule 40 of Olympic charter which says that brands cannot advertise without the consent of IOA (Indian Olympics Association).”

What exactly is moment marketing & how brands are using the opportunity & is it illegal? 

Tokyo Olympics – PV Sindhu to Sue Brands: 

What is moment marketing? A marketing approach in which brands become part of a conversation or trend, and also pass off a link with celebrities to gain traction. A recent example is ads and posts that are part of the online praise for P V Sindhu The list of brands mentioned above had taken to social media to congratulate Sindhu for her bronze win at the games and had used her name and pictures along with the company logo in the post.

Is this unethical? It is very clear that no brand can leverage an athlete’s name without consent or contract. In India there are no clear cut rules around it. Amul has been doing moment marketing since ages but has never been accused of crossing the thin-line. Here the heartburn has been caused because of use of brand logos & brand messaging while leveraging the MOMENT of SINDHU’s exploits. This is clearly unethical. 

What are Tokyo Olympics “Brand Protection Guidelines”, on intellectual property rights? 
The regulations are quite strict on intellectual property around the Olympics. Ambush marketing, where you try to associate yourself with an athlete without doing any direct marketing or try to convey to people in some form that you are associated with the athlete or Olympic emblems, is a clear violation of the trademark laws of the Olympics
Tokyo Olympics – PV Sindhu to Sue Brands: According to the Brand Protection Guidelines, examples of ambush marketing include symbols and images such as unauthorised use of the Olympic emblem and symbol; 
Use of terms that bring to mind the Games; use of Olympic terms and torch images; graphics that resemble the Olympic symbol; and unauthorised PR publications. 
Tokyo Olympics – PV Sindhu to Sue Brands: Further, it is clearly stated that no company or organisation, except for the Tokyo 2020 partners, are allowed to engage in marketing activities and public relations activities using the names and images of the Olympic or Paralympic Games, even if they are/were under a contract with the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games or any other organisations related to the Olympic or Paralympic Games
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