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BMW’s mini Mini has managed to outmanoeuvre the branding rules at the London Games.MAX ROSSI/Reuters

1. Auto maker BMW has scored a mini marketing coup. Small, remote-controlled versions of its Mini cars have been zipping around Olympic Park outside of London during track-and-field meets, ferrying javelins, discuses, and hammers back to where they were hurtled from. The International Olympic Committee has a "clean field of play" policy, barring most marketing from inside Olympic events, but there are some exceptions. Logos can often be seen on athletes' uniforms and shoes, for example. And watch maker Omega SA has found tremendous value as official timekeeper of the Games, a status that allows its brand to be front and centre when the cameras roll. BMW is also an Olympic sponsor: The command car for the torch relay was a BMW, and it has provided a fleet to the London Organizing Committee to ferry athletes around the Games and for other organizational activities.

2. In advertising around these Olympic Games, the spotlight is on parents. Procter & Gamble has been front and centre with its "thank you mom" campaign, including a spot showing athletes how their moms always see them: as children. Now Petro-Canada has launched a spot showing moms and dads slipping into the uniforms of their athlete kids, including Team Canada's Karen Cockburn and Sergio Pessoa Jr. While bodies beyond the age of 30 are a rarity in most Olympic events, the spot is meant to show "that parents actually live the moment of performance with their kids – they're right there with them," said Chris Edwards, creative director at TBWA\Toronto, which created the ad. The company has had this focus since 2010, when it created a fund to send parents to the Games to watch the competition, and is now bringing them into its ads.

3. All the focus may be on sports sponsorship these days, but companies looking to make a connection may find as much value in charitable events as in high-profile leagues or matches, according to a new study by Ipsos Reid and marketing agency TrojanOne. The study looked at the "most valuable property" for sponsorship in Canada, including major sports leagues, arts events, festivals and award shows. The consumer survey, measuring the impact of sponsorship on consumer sentiment, showed 24 of the top 25 properties were charitable or not-for-profit events, such as the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life, and organizations such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. The highest-scoring property not related to a cause was the Canadian Olympic Team.

4. The print ads for beer, wine or liquor that young people are most likely to see are also those that violate advertising standards the most often, according to a new U.S. study. The research from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined 1,261 ads for alcoholic beverages. It analyzed the ads for risky imagery, including injury, overconsumption, sexual images, and other content that violated the marketing codes alcohol industry trade associations impose on themselves. The findings, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, show that those standards are violated most often in magazines targeted toward younger readers. The authors of the study argue that self-regulatory codes for this type of advertising are not enough.

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