Commonwealth Games IPA

Kicking-off - Commonwealth Games row

By The Drum, Administrator

November 2, 2007 | 4 min read

The restriction, which would be governed by a bill raised in the Scottish Parliament, may be similar to one contained within the controversial London Olympic Games Bill.

According to Marina Palomba, legal director of the IPA, this would go as far as companies not being allowed to advertise even simple messages, such as 'Come to Glasgow', if the legislation is put in place in 2010.

Chris Hackford, senior IPA legal manager says that the Institute is concerned that any introduction of a bill would mean that smaller Glasgow companies, unable to afford to pay the price of official sponsorship, would miss out on benefits that might be theirs.

"If it is based on the London Olympic association right, it is very strict and introduces certain words which cannot be used, which would prevent an advertiser who is not an official sponsor from saying 'Come to Glasgow to see the games'," says Hackford.

He continues by saying that the IPA had been previously assured by the Government that such a Bill was a "one off" and would only be introduced for the London Olympics.

"It is obviously a restriction on the freedom of expression and it only allows multinational sponsors, the only ones who can afford the sponsorship, to advertise in and around the games and make reference to it. Where actually, the Games will be of huge benefit to Glasgow in terms of tourism and marketing, and benefit, in our view, the local businesses who should be allowed to have some kind of association with the games, this will be detrimental to them."

However, Rob Shorthouse, director of PR and Media for Glasgow's bid, was quick to defend the proposed move, claiming that the IPA should be looking to support the bid, rather than detract from the overall good the Games would bring: "Frankly, the IPA would be better served getting behind a venture that will benefit huge numbers of businesses across Scotland and has overwhelming public support - rather than putting out scare stories so close to the final decision."

Hackford responds: "The existing laws in the UK will prevent people who are not sponsors from making out that they are, so it is unnecessary to introduce an association right at all. It simply gives the event organiser a much greater power to prevent other people from going about their business which is unfair and we would oppose it if it were introduced."

Yet, Shorthouse says that he feels the IPA is being "disingenuous" in its statements that the businesses of Glasgow will be 'outraged' by such a restriction. He also explains that the proposed Bill is "standard practice for International Games" saying that it was in place for events in Sydney and Melbourne as well.

He continues to explain that sponsorship was only one aspect of the event, and that there would be "other opportunities" for Scottish businesses across different sectors to benefit through increased activity generated by the games and the increased opportunity to bid for tenders and business.

"This is only one aspect, and you have to be able to protect the brand and protect the investment made by the companies which are spending large sums of money to be associated with the brand.

"If you're asking companies to become sponsors of the games, investing heavily for that right, then you have to be able to protect them and their investment."

Shorthouse also confirms that the current bid sponsors such as Highland Spring and ScotRail would not automatically become sponsors of the event should Glasgow win, and that their brand competitors would be able to become official sponsors of Glasgow's Commonwealth Games.

Guy Robertson, chairman of the IPA in Scotland, and himself the managing director of a Glasgow-based advertising agency (GRP), believes that the industry in Scotland "would be outraged" at the introduction of such restrictions, but said it was difficult to make any definitive statement when no decision had been made or that any such ruling would definitely be passed by the Government.

"If it does limit any freedom of expression then we will have reason to be annoyed and we will make representation to the Scottish Government."

Commonwealth Games IPA

More from Commonwealth Games

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +