Euro 2016 kicks off at the end of this week, with the Summer Olympics and Paralympics following in August and September, respectively. These competitions attract a huge amount of interest, so it’s critical that advertising seeking to leverage that popularity is responsible.

Here are our top tips for marketers:

1. Don’t imply endorsement if you’re not an official partner

Ambush marketing is the term given to brands referencing events, either directly or indirectly, when the company hasn’t paid to be a sponsor or official partner. PR “stunts” are not covered by the CAP Code; advertising based on them is.

If there’s any suggestion that there’s an official affiliation when there isn’t, then the ASA is likely to consider such references as misleading and in breach of the Codes. As always, the ASA will take into account the overall impression of the copy including images, icons and symbols used.

2. Don’t cause offence

When creating ads quickly in response to a controversial game or event remember to pause for thought and think about whether the creative is likely to spark a negative reaction. As ever, sensitive subjects such as religion or cultural stereotypes should be handled with care.

Given that these tournaments all involve countries competing against each other, it can be tempting to use national stereotypes in your advertising. Light-hearted ads might be acceptable but be aware that humour revolving around racial stereotypes always has the potential to offend.

3. Don’t gamble with your betting ads and promotions

When advertising promotional offers, you’ll want to reduce the chances of misleading consumers by ensuring all significant conditions are clearly explained upfront. This ruling demonstrates how betting promotions which are ambiguous or missing key information are likely to be unacceptable.

With these tournaments featuring a great number of young and popular athletes, it’s crucial to remember that the Codes prohibit anyone under the age of 25 from appearing in Gambling advertising. This guidance provides information regarding the exemption which applies to websites. Marketers need to avoid using cartoonish imagery, or anything else that could appeal to children as this is likely to be considered unacceptable as this ruling shows.

4. Do remember the rules on featuring alcohol

It’s important to keep in mind that the Alcohol rules apply not just to ads for alcoholic drinks but those that feature or refer to alcoholic drinks. Key things to remember are that suggesting alcohol can enhance confidence, mental or physical capabilities is unacceptable. Alcohol ads cannot be directed at or reflect the culture of under-18s, and people under 25 may not be shown playing a significant role (see this guidance).

5. Do be clear with travel deals

Many fans will want to travel to see events in person, particularly considering this year’s Euros are only a hop across the Channel. If you’re advertising international travel or accommodation, you’ll need to take care not to mislead consumers. Pricing must always be clear, availability not be overstated, and descriptions of locations must be honest.

If advertising a travel promotion, then the benefits should not be exaggerated, the promotion itself must be administered competently, and key limitations and conditions must be made clear. See our general advice on travel marketing and advertising travel promotions for more information.

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