Duracell drops promo after clash with BOA

Duracell has been forced to drop an unofficial Olympic Games promotion following protests by the British Olympic Association (BOA).

The battery manufacturer has scrapped an on-pack promotion offering the prize of a trip to this summer’s Sydney Games, after Marketing Week reported that the company was planning the promotion without the BOA’s permission (MW March 2).

The BOA asked Duracell not to use the words “Olympic Games” without its permission, claiming it would otherwise contravene the Olympic Symbol (Protection) Act (1995).

A Duracell spokesman says the company was anxious to avoid a protracted legal wrangle. “Despite the concerns of the BOA, we continue to believe the promotion stayed within both the law and the spirit of the Olympic rules.

“Given that we see no benefit for either party in continuing the discussion over the legality of the promotion, we are now planning alternative activity.”

A BOA spokeswoman says: “Duracell acted quickly and professionally to withdraw the promotion as we requested.”

Philip Circus, legal adviser to the Institute of Sales Promotion (ISP), claims the BOA has no right to prevent companies from using the word “Olympic” for commercial purposes. He has challenged the BOA to seek legal clarification of the rules through a test case.

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