The Australian Mining industry lobby group has been forced to withdraw a television advertisement featuring Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Anna Meares because it breaches ambush marketing rules.
In the ad, Meares, who hails from a mining town, wears a logo of BHP Billiton, a competitor to official Olympics Australian Olympic Committee sponsor Rio Tinto.
Australian Olympic team members are subject to a month-long advertising ”blackout”, starting next week, which is designed to protect the dollar-value of Olympic sponsorships. They cannot appear in any advertising without the prior permission of the AOC.
The advertisement was made months ago’as part of a wider ”Australian Mining – This is our story” campaign, but only aired recently. The Age newspaper said the Minerals Council of Australia, the group acting publicly on behalf of the campaign, was only made aware of the breach yesterday and had agreed by last night to take down the ads until the ban expired.
Industry trade magazine Australian Mining – unrelated to the lobby group opf the same name – reported online that Alan Grover, the director of marketing and brand protection for the Australian Olympic Committee, told them Meares had been put in a difficult position by the ads which ran on Sunday.
“By appearing in the ads Meares may possibly be in breach of Olympic Insignia Protection Act and the Olympic Charter, which all the athletes sign prior to competing,” Grover told Australian Mining.
He has asked the mining lobby group to cease and desist from running any further advertisements and promotions.
As well as the BHP logos, the ad focused on how Meares’ parents work in the mining industry for BHP Billiton in Middlemount, Queensland.