While there were some very strict marketing rules put in place before the 2012 Games, one doctor is working around the situation. That doctor is Dr. Dre, the rapper and name behind Dr. Dre's Beats headphones. Dre chose to simply offer his Beats headphones to any Olympic athlete who wanted a pair, and really, who's going to turn down free Beats? Most viewers have noticed their favorite athletes are wearing Dre's headphones between performances, especially during swimming meets where the camera lingers on each athlete as they get ready to race. This kind of promotion is just what the doctor ordered.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has some of the most involved and complex marketing rules for the athletes to follow, along with any businesses who wish to advertise with the Olympic Games. The IOC strictly forbids any athlete from being involved in any advertising for anyone except for the 11 companies who have purchased the global rights to sponsor the Games.
These rules are in place to prevent what the IOC deems as "ambush marketing." In reality, "ambush marketing" is simply free press for any business who does not shell out the almost $100 million dollars it costs a business to promote itself during the Olympics. So, how did the good Doctor work his way around such a sticky and expensive set of IOC rules?
It seems that IOC officials had their feathers a bit ruffled once they noticed an increasing number of Olympic athletes showing up at their sporting events wearing Beats by Dr. Dre. Maybe if one or two athletes showed up wearing Dr. Dre's headphones, the IOC might not have paid attention. However, when you have high-profile athletes from the UK, the US and China sporting Beats by Dr. Dre on their ears in matching national colors ... people pay attention.
People like British diver Tom Daley, Chinese gold medalist swimmer Sun Yang and virtually every member of the US swim team were being seen by millions of TV viewers, warming up with Dr. Dre's Beats providing the soundtrack. British soccer player Jack Butland even sent a tweet to his followers letting them know how much he loved his new Beats by Dre. That tweet caused the IOC to send a warning to the British Olympic athletes. The warning kindly reminded them of their legal and binding obligation to promote only official sponsors of the Olympic Games.
While dozens of Olympians were in hot water for wearing their Dr. Dre freebie headphones while on camera, many chose to launch their own Twitter protest against the IOC. Known simply as IOC Rule 40, it states that athletes are not to mention their own personal sponsors during an Olympic game. In fact, athletes can even be disqualified from the Games for breach of contract if they are found to be promoting any product that is not an official IOC sponsor. While all this drama may be causing some ill feelings between athletes and the IOC, it's Dr. Dre who has the right prescription ... free exposure.Got Olympics fever? Find the events faster, wherever you go, with the "2012 Olympics" listings on our free mobile app, the BuddyTV Guide!Nikki SeayContributing Writer(Image courtesy of NBC)