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Telstra pulls ad promoting ‘Olympics on 7’ app amid legal threats

Australia’s biggest telco Telstra has been forced to pull an ad promoting the Channel Seven Olympics app after receiving legal letters about associating itself with the Olympics through the guerrilla ad.

TelstraThe campaign, which aired for less than than a week, was set to a modern version of Peter Allen’s song  ‘I Go to Rio’ and appeared ended with the line “Official technology partner of Seven’sOlympic Games coverage”.

While Telstra has been the official Olympics sponsor of the Australian Olympic Committee it gave up those rights for the current cycle, and they were picked up by rival Optus.

Telstra seven 2However the Olympics are covered by strict rules which govern what brands can and cannot say in their marketing about their association with the Games, while brands breaking those rules can be subjected to hefty fines.

The ad rolled out last week on TV, but has since been pulled and a disclaimer added to its website declaring that “Telstra is not an official sponsor of the Olympic Games, any Olympic Committees or teams”. Telstra disclaimer

Mumbrella understands there have been legal letters traded between the telco and the AOC about the ad and use of terms such as partner.

The ad has been pulled despite not being inside the Olympic blackout period, which puts a ban of on the use of terms such as ‘Olympic’, with the period beginning on July 27 ahead of the games which starts on August 5. 

A spokesperson for Telstra told Mumbrella: “The advertising is still running in market. We have updated it to make it clear that Telstra is not an official sponsor of the Olympic Games, the Australian Olympic team or of the Australian or International Olympic Committees.”

The original TV ad showed Australians in a variety of a settings using the Seven app to access the Olympics. Comment has been sought from Telstra, Seven and Optus.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 3.59.35 pm

An new version of the ad has a disclaimer throughout the ad declaring: “Telstra is not an official sponsor of the Olympic Games, any Olympic Committees or teams.

Telstra updatedThe tagline at the end has also been updated to read: “Telstra is Seven’s broadcast partner” with the Seven logo and the word Olympics being removed.

Telstra updated 2The Australian Olympic Committee declined to comment.

Back in February, Optus unveiled an ad featuring Usain Bolt as it announced it had signed on as the Australian team’s sponsor.

The upcoming Mumbrella Sports Marketing Summit will be hosting a session on ‘How to crash the Olympics and not get sued’.

Panel members include Simone Blakers, managing director, Society Australia, and Stephen von Muenster, principal, von Muenster Solicitors & Attorneys. For more information, click here.

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