Website MEMA Words – for Host City Regions hosting CWC 2015

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will be taking place in New Zealand this summer. Co-hosted with Australia and running from 14 February until 29 March 2015, the event is expected to attract 30,000 international visitors.

Alongside the excitement and opportunities that will come with hosting 23 games in seven venues throughout New Zealand, comes the challenge of ensuring that the event runs smoothly and successfully.

Staging ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 is a massive undertaking, which requires significant financial and promotional support from the tournament’s official sponsors. In return sponsors get exclusive rights of association, but those rights are worth little without protection from businesses trying to take advantage of the tournament’s high profile for their own commercial gain.

As a consequence, protections have been put in place to guard against commercial exploitation of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 by association or intrusion. This is also known as ‘ambush marketing’.

In New Zealand, the Major Event Management Act 2007 (MEMA) is the main tool that protects against ambush marketing. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 has been declared a ‘major event’ under the MEMA and this prohibits any advertising that suggests an association with ICC Cricket World Cup where there is none, especially where protected tournament emblems and words (or those that are deceptively similar), are used. An association is not avoided by using words such as ‘unofficial’ or ‘unauthorised’.

To assist in protecting against ambush marketing during ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, ‘clean zones’ that operate during ‘clean periods’ have also been declared under the MEMA. ‘Clean’ means the designated areas must be free of unauthorised advertising or any other promotional or sales activities, other than the honest continuation of ordinary activities by existing businesses.

This has important implications for businesses – particularly around advertising and promotions – and for people who own property or live close to match venues. Under the MEMA, action can be taken against anyone accepting money, or other considerations, for the placement of unauthorised advertising and other promotional activities. Action can also be taken against the people who pay for, commission, or authorise it.

‘Clean’ requirements will not impact on existing businesses that are honestly going about their usual business on their usual premises, such as continuing to use their usual signage and advertising - even if ordinarily they sell products that compete with one of the official sponsors (as long as no attempt is made to suggest an association with the major event).

However businesses within clean zones that sell or promote products or services that are different to what they usually do (e.g. a car yard selling clothing) during declared clean periods will not be considered to be operating in a business-as-usual manner, and risk breaching the MEMA.

Street trading in public places within clean zones is prohibited unless conducted by official ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 licensees. This will restrict, existing businesses, such as bars or cafés, who might want to expand to cater for extra patronage in a way that departs from their usual practice.

Unauthorised advertising is prohibited within declared clean zones and from places where the advertising can be seen from within clean zones, if it is not part of an existing business’ usual signage. That includes advertising placed on private property, whether the property is a house, commercial building, or any other space.

The advertising prohibition includes vehicles carrying advertising (or in other ways clearly associated with a product or service) that are parked in or driven through clean zones, or on streets visible from within clean zones, unless they are going about their usual business. This also extends to blimps, sky writing, and aircraft towing signs that can be seen within the clean zones.

The prohibition also includes clothing, where the intention of the people wearing the clothes is to be noticed, advertising or promoting a product or service.

Only official sponsors and licensees may distribute pamphlets, flyers or free give-aways within clean zones, regardless of whether or not the material suggests an association with ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Fans who accept give-aways being handed out outside clean zones (such as free branded products like drinks, tap-taps, flags, or items of clothing) may be asked not to take them into match venues.

As well as the restrictions put in place by the MEMA, Councils are also likely to be taking an increased interest in unauthorised activities around their cities, particularly around match venues.

Many of the above activities are either prohibited or controlled under Council bylaws, district plan rules or the Resource Management Act. It should not be assumed that an activity is safe simply because it is taking place outside a clean zone.

MEMA Enforcement Officers, appointed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, will be patrolling the clean zones and have the power to seize or cover any object – such as an unauthorised advertising sign. Enforcement Officers will also have the ability to apply for a search warrant to enter private property to do so. Breaching the MEMA can be a criminal offence, with fines of up to $150,000 for serious offences.

Further details regarding the declared clean zones and clean periods can be found in the New Zealand Gazette notice for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

A Guide to the Major Events Management Act 2007’ [3.4MB PDF] has also been developed for businesses, by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, to provide practical advice around the use of licensed terms and trademarks for ‘major events’. The Guide gives real-world examples of the 'dos and don'ts' under the Major Events Management Act 2007 (MEMA) in New Zealand.

If you are unsure whether your planned activities might be in breach of any restrictions, you should speak to your council and/or take legal advice.