“Just a little piece of tape”: VPL Marketing Director clarifies rules about non-Olympic sponsor logos

from greenpeanut on flickr

A couple of days ago  The Tyee reported that VPL’s Marketing and Communications Manager Jean Kavanagh’s sent a memo in November 2009 to  staff outlining rules about branding and logos of non-Olympic sponsors. The quote that stuck in my head was Kavanagh’s advice to stick a little piece of tape to cover a non-sponsor logo:

The same care (about non-sponsor logos and brands) must be taken for audio-visual equipment. The branch should try to get devices made by official sponsor Panasonic. Should staff only be able to find Sony equipment, the solution is simple. “I would get some tape and put it over the ‘Sony,'” Kavanagh said. “Just a little piece of tape.”

Her email to staff she explains that:

We cannot ever use the VANOC logo. The City as Host City can use the Games marks in conjunction with the City logo but we must obtain permission to do so every time we want to use them. All such requests must be sent to me and I forward the request to our City VANOC liaison.  If you want to insert any VANOC branding/photos with posters/materials we also must obtain approval. I have a good sense of what gets approved so please talk to me before work is started on such materials.

There are also strict rules for using logos/branding of Games sponsors so again please contact me with any ideas before things get underway. The Library doesn’t really deal with the major sponsors, but if for example a branch was involved in a Host A City Happening event and a local Bank of Montreal wanted to sponsor it we would have to say no. The Royal Bank is the official banking sponsor. Some branches may have an opportunity to participate in torch relay activities and all these rules will apply then. Information about the torch relay will be available in the new year.

Kavanagh’s memo outlines several potential branding conflicts and proposes

For example, do not have Pepsi or Dairy Queen sponsor your event. Coke and McDonald’s are the Olympic sponsors. If you are planning a kids’ event and approaching sponsors, approach McDonald’s and not another well-known fast-food outlet.

If you have a speaker/guest who happens to work for Telus, ensure he/she is not wearing their Telus jacket as Bell is the official sponsor.

If you have rented sound equipment and it is not Panasonic or you can’t get Panasonic, cover the brand name with tape or a cloth.

If you are approaching businesses in your area for support and there is a Rona and Home Depot, go to Rona. If there’s only a Home Depot don’t approach them as Rona is the official sponsor. Try other small businesses

VPL has a Sponsorship Policy that outlines the principles of the library:

Vancouver Public Library is a cornerstone of the community. Sponsorships must not undermine the integrity of the non-commercial public space that the Library provides. In developing sponsorship arrangements the Library will:

  1. not compromise the public service objectives and practices of the Library or of the sponsored event, service, programmes or activity;
  2. protect its principle of intellectual freedom and equity of access to its programmes, services, and collections;…

Download the VPL memo

Media links

The Tyee: Librarians Told to Stand on Guard for Olympic Sponsors

CTV Olympics site: Library asked to cover up non-sponsors’ logos during Games


3 thoughts on ““Just a little piece of tape”: VPL Marketing Director clarifies rules about non-Olympic sponsor logos

  1. Pingback: Olympic sponsorships & Vancouver Public Library: COI? « Social Justice Librarian

  2. More corporate-pandering for the biggest scam on Earth. 😦

    I wrote a comment card at the VPL asking why they had so many pro-Olympics stations but didn’t have any critical perspectives at all. I asked how the VPL could come to cheerlead for the Olympics while this year’s budget cuts required them to cut 30+ full time librarians, and other libraries have scaled back hours of operation. I asked why the VPL would take an active pro-Olympic stance while BC spent $7 billion + on the Olympics but can’t pay for teachers. At the end of the 2010 school year all teachers with less than 5 years of seniority face lay-offs. The VSB is facing a $300 million or so budget shortfall. And the library is pandering to these interests???

    Anyway, my comment card garnered a call from their director of lending services (don’t remember his name). We had a … pleasant chat in which I castigated him for allowing the library to advocate against its own interests. I likened it to Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

    He was dismissive, and tried to blame the lack of perspective on a disinterested public. I retorted that if the library hosted 12 pro Olympics etc, then they should make an effort to create a more nuanced picture of the social implications.

    Bah. I’ve been blogging about the Olympics a great deal, so I suppose I’m a little sensitive at present…

    Cheers for the provocative exposé!

  3. A good news story related to VPL and the Olympics that was recently discussed on the Intellectual Freedom Committee’s email list:

    A couple of weeks ago, some staff at VPL were questioning whether or not we should be displaying anti-Olympic posters (eg posters for anti-Olympic marches); some staff were in fact assuming that we should not be displaying these posters, since we were part of the City of Vancouver, and the City of Vancouver is one of the partners hosting the Olympics.

    City Librarian Paul Whitney very quickly sent out an e-mail to all heads stating,

    “I have received a couple of queries about whether or not the Library should be displaying or distributing anti- Olympic posters and flyers. There is no prohibition on this type of material as long as it conforms to our standard guidelines for display or distribution. You may wish to review the Library’s policy:[link to policy]. If you are uncertain about the acceptability of a specific item please confer with your Manager or Director.”

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