British Summer? We're not allowed one, thanks to the Olympics' brand police...

16 July 2012

we all love the olympics

With the Olympics mere days away, Londoners are preparing themselves for a month of not being able to get anywhere, and the rest of us are preparing to not be able to watch anything else on TV. The athlete’s village is swanky and stylish, the cleaners’ village (reportedly) not so much. And the less said about G4S the better.

Still, what has been a raving success of the Games so far is the sponsorship deals. We’ve already seen Samsung select its ‘worthy’ worldwide CEOs as torch bearers, and seen McDonalds ban everyone else from selling chips, because they paid for the right to all chips, other than those preceded by “fish n”. Now, the Olympics brand police are out to stamp on small and local businesses who, heaven forbid, might be insolent enough to consider using the Olympics to try and sell more stuff.

That’s right, the green and purple clad army are out right now, cruising the streets of London armed with newly-minted legislative powers to enter premises to sniff out possible brand infringements, and bring court action demanding fines of up to £20,000. The Olympic committee may not care about protecting athletes and visitors, but they’re sure as dammit going to protect their sponsors.

And it could be easier to get into hot water with the brand police than you might think. Olympics organisers have warned businesses that during the London 2012 event, their advertising should not include a list of banned words, including "gold", "silver" and "bronze", as well as the more generic "summer", "sponsors" and "London".

Pubs cannot advertising live TV coverage on blackboards that refer to beer brands or brewers without an Olympics deal, and caterers and restaurateurs have had their creativity stifled, being warned they cannot invent dishes that could be construed as having an association with the event.

Sponsorship fuinding is reported to have put up £1.4bn against the total £11.4bn Olympic bill. Justifying their stance, Locog said "These rights are acquired by companies who invest millions of pounds to help support the staging of the Games. People who seek the same benefits for free – by engaging in ambush marketing or producing counterfeit goods – are effectively depriving the Games of revenue." Mmm. Just so long as all that lovely revenue gets returned to the people who paid for most of it* eh? Course it will.

So will the brand police attack every business in the area? Better not have a summer sale in August then, as that will clearly be an attempt to ambush the games, and have nothing to do with a common practice of having a sale in the summer season. What about summer puddings or summer clothes? What if your hippy parents named you Summer? Are you a walking violation? Or are the Games getting just a little too big for their boots? Boots sponsored by Adidas of course.

* most of the money has come from the taxpayer funded Olympic Development Agency, National Lottery funding and the Greater London local authority. But you already knew that didn’t you.


  • Bloke
    How can Locog sell my right to use the word "gold" when I haven't sold them that right? What a bunch of AU-plated arseholes.
  • Me
    Cunts! Fuck the sponsors. The locals also funded this farce. So did we the taxpayers!
  • Alexis
    "The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Limited is a private company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales" Since when have private companies been able to 'fine' individuals or other companies? They'll need to sue for actual losses incurred, like any other company, and I suspect they will have an uphill struggle a) showing any legal cause of action, and; b) proving actual loss incurred.
  • Marc
    Sam, some of this is bollocks. You can of course advertise a "summer" sale, or promotions on "silver" jewellery, or "London" Underground souvenirs. But you can't use those words in conjunction with each other to imply you're associated with the Olympics. (You also missed out the more obvious words on the list that you're not allowed to use in conjunction with these, such as "2012" - so advertising your "London 2012" sale would obviously be against these rules.) Furthermore, these rules have been known about for the past 2-3 years at least. Agree that the McDonalds chips thing is a bit shit though.
  • David
    "Since when have private companies been able to ‘fine’ individuals or other companies?" @Alexis LOCOG wouldn't be fining anybody. A court may set a fine, because the 'Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Act 1995', the 'London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006' and subsequent regulations say they can. @ Marc. Well said. This is a sensationalist, poorly written and one-sided article.
  • Eh?
    @alexis - the fine will be issued by the court as a result of the comittal of a criminal offence. No need to show loss. The cause of action will be the legislation enacted for the very purpose of giving a cause of action for this sort of thing.
  • Kevin
    Funny how people understand why you can't use brandnames of big companies the rest of the time but now argue about the Olympics! And @Me, the local funded the infrastructure, you know? The train stations, the house, the parks, the stadiusm etc? All the things that will still be there after the Olympics? The sponsors and the ticket holders are the people paying for the rest of it.
  • The B.
    How about playing Samsung off against McDonalds, tell McDonalds that Samsung have been flogging products with chips in and it violates their sponsorship agreement.
  • Alexis
    I stand corrected. I didn't realise they'd actually rushed through legislation in 2006!
  • Mark
    Surely we're all paying for the money that Lloyds TSB have put in after all the government has bailed them out on numerous occasions.
  • Sicknote
    Olympics - get the fuck out of here - it's the Proctor & Gamble / Adidas / McDonalds / Coca-Cola / et al corporate sports day.
  • chris c.
    i know for a fact that dyso n hand dryers, at certain venues have had the name of the company taped over, because they not sponsors, just like the re-name of the 02 (dome), to the north greenwich arena!
  • Inspector G.
    tut tut tut....
  • Me
    @ Kevin The sponsors won't be paying to keep maintaining all structures after this con is finished.
  • Me
    @ kevin again Lococ are cunts!
  • Gorgeous G.
    I fackin 'ate Landan 2012

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