A Planet Fitness video released before the start of the Winter Games that featured local “Olympians” — residents from the South Sound area, not those bound for South Korea — was removed by the company after the U.S. Olympic Committee complained.
The video, released Feb. 5, was set to run across the fitness company’s social media platforms.
“As luck would have it, the U.S. Olympic Committee caught wind of our video celebrating ‘Everyday Olympians’ and requested it be removed,” said Adam Belmont in an email to The Olympian on Monday. Belmont, according to his email, is an account director with a public relations firm called ICR. He could not be reached Thursday.
Undeterred, Planet Fitness, which operates a location in Lacey, released a follow-up video of a mock press conference in which a woman responds to the U.S. Olympic Committee’s request. In the background of the video, a man can be seen stuffing “Olympic” jerseys into a garbage can.
The video also shows an image of Cathy Robinson of Lacey, who regularly works out at Planet Fitness and agreed to be in the first video.
Robinson, along with area resident Bob Lathrop, spent two days filming in various locations in early January, including in downtown Olympia at Capitol Way and Fourth Avenue and on the Legislative Building steps.
“It was so much fun,” Robinson said, adding that when they gathered in front of the “Welcome to Olympia” sign, they waved to passing traffic and everyone waved back.
But the U.S. Olympic committee takes its business very seriously.
In September 2009, the committee took issue with The Olympian newspaper’s parent company, McClatchy Co., and its efforts to trademark the newspaper’s name.
Lawyers for the committee unsuccessfully argued that the “similarity in appearance and sound of the trademarks to The Olympian, tends to cause confusion or mistake, to deceive, or to falsely suggest a connection.”
Corporate America also is sensitive to trademark disputes.
In May 2010, downtown Olympia business Salon Fifth Avenue ran afoul of Saks Fifth Avenue after the tony New York-based retailer asked the salon to “change its name and logo” because of an implied connection between the two.
Salon and Saks later reached a settlement.