Free hashtag in a free country - Hydrogen Code
July 27, 2016

Rio 2016: if you’re not a sponsor you’re not allowed to use some hashtags. US Olympic Commetee’s megalomania is verging on the ridiculous.

There are some news that we instantly recognize as clickbait bullshit. Unfortunately, this one does not fall in that category. Even it looks like it has all the peculiarities we usually associate with bullshit: who could believe that USOC will threaten anyone who’ll make unauthorized use not only of hashtag like #Rio2016, but also of simple terms like “Olympic”, “Olympian”, “Gold”, “Silver”, “Bronze”… including translations in other languages.

At first we thought about a joke, even if the source is reliable, than we decided to investigate a little bit finding out that Rule 40 is really crazy. How much? Hello of a lot, as you can find out:

Commercial entities may not post about the Trials or Games on their corporate social media accounts,” reads the letter written by USOC chief marketing officer Lisa Baird. “This restriction includes the use of USOC’s trademarks in hashtags such as #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA.

The USOC owns the trademarks to “Olympic,” “Olympian” and “Go For The Gold,” among many other words and phrases, and does not want Brand to use them in their communications. Including words like Games, Team, Brazil, 2016 Performance, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Summer, Medal and so on.

Funny isn’t it? Probably you’re not believing what you’re reading, but everything is stated on this official document. We’re not talking about hastags: even the simple use of those words is prohibited, as ESPN reports. Basically, unless you are a journalist, you can’t use common words in your marketing communications. You can’t even retweet official content!

Rule 40 was never beloved but this time USOC has done something we could only imagine as a part of a Monty Python’s gag. The fact is that it will be impossible to stop “illegal” tweets that will got mixed with millions of “legal” ones, posted by journalists or sport fans who are excluded. Who could control the flow of tweets in different languages to find out if the term “gold” is associated to the Rio 2016 or is referred to the precious metal?

Basically, this is one perfect example of a rule so ridiculous to be impossibile to respect but capable of annoying anyone working in the marketing.