Venable partner Po Yi discussed the rules surrounding ambush marketing during the Olympics in an August 10, 2016 AdWeek article. An infamous example of ambush marketing occurred during the 1996 games when Nike, a nonsponsor at the time, waged an aggressive marketing campaign to ensure its brand was seen throughout the games. The campaign largely backfired and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) stepped up its already stringent protection of its trademarks against nonsponsors.
"Nike realized that, after the IOC tightened the rules, they could no longer do ambush marketing," said Yi. "The list of no-no's has gotten much longer, and that's partly because of the effective ways that brands including Nike have engaged in ambush marketing through the years." She added that the IOC has recently loosened up on Rule 40 allowing brands that sponsor individual athletes to work them during the games. Despite this, the IOC and USOC still maintain strict prohibitions over use of the interlocking rings logo and common phrases associated with the games.