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Lions Series and RLWC: Advertising dos and don'ts

With two international rugby events about to hit New Zealand, do make the most of the extra tourists. Don’t get caught out by major event advertising laws.

The DHL NZ Lions Series 2017 and Rugby League World Cup 2017, kicking off in June and October, will see cash registers ringing for many small businesses.

More than 20,000 tourists are expected to visit New Zealand, boosting spending in the seven host cities and beyond.

If you plan to advertise during these events, bear in mind the DHL NZ Lions Series 2017 and RLWC are covered by the Major Events Management Act. This gives official sponsors and event owners’ exclusive promotional rights.

What to watch out for

Remember to:

  • Steer clear of using event emblems or set words associated with the events in your promotions.
  • Avoid advertising near event stadiums or event transport routes — called clean zones — during set times when matches are due to be played.
  • If your business is in a clean zone, your day-to-day promotions shouldn’t be affected. If in doubt, check with your local council.

Emblems, words & clean zones DHL NZ Lions 2017 Series (external link) — New Zealand Major Events
Emblems, words & clean zones RLWC (external link) — New Zealand Major Events

Breaking these rules risks a fine of up to $150,000.

Breaking these rules risks a fine of up to $150,000.

As major sporting events rely on sponsorship, the Major Events Management Act is actively enforced. 

What's OK and what's not

Business activityOKNot OK
Billboard outside bar or restaurant Details of televised matches, eg “Live on the big screen tonight Team A vs Team B” Suggesting venue or product is a sponsor, eg “Sports Bar XY presents Team A vs Team B”
Advertising and websites Using general terms Using protected emblems or words
Merchandise Using general terms, eg T-shirt with slogan “New Zealand” Using protected emblems or words, eg T-shirt with Lions logo
Window display Using general terms, eg banner with “GO Team NZ!” or official bunting Using protected emblems or words, or suggesting shop is a sponsor
Giveaways and flyers Handing these out outside the clean zones — but fans may not be allowed to take giveaways into clean zones Handing these out in clean zones — or areas you can see from clean zones — at set times
Street trading, eg food trucks Selling outside clean zones Selling inside clean zones without an event permit

More examples of what is and isn’t allowed [PDF 3.5MB] (external link) — NZ Major Events guide

Case study

Using protected words

An online drinks company got in trouble for using trademarked words during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

It emailed 30,000 customers, saying: "The Rugby World Cup is getting closer — have you tried our Argentinian beer?"

Two days later, Rugby World Cup Ltd issued the company with a written warning against using the trademarked words “Rugby World Cup”, advising them any future promotions could end in a $150,000 fine.

Types of intellectual property 

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