Britain flooded with ’brand police’ to protect sponsors
By Martin Hickman | Independent.co.uk
Hundreds of uniformed Olympics officers will begin touring the country today enforcing sponsors’ multimillion-pound marketing deals, in a highly organised mission that contrasts with the scramble to find enough staff to secure Olympic sites.
Almost 300 enforcement officers will be seen across the country checking firms to ensure they are not staging "ambush marketing" or illegally associating themselves with the Games at the expense of official sponsors such as Adidas, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and BP. The clampdown goes on while 3,500 soldiers on leave are brought in to bail out the security firm G4S which admitted it could not supply the numbers of security staff it had promised.
Yesterday, the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, refused to rule out that even more soldiers may be called upon to help with security, but dismissed the issue as merely a "hitch". However, as well as the regular Army, the Olympic "brand army" will start its work with a vengeance today.
Wearing purple caps and tops, the experts in trading and advertising working for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) are heading the biggest brand protection operation staged in the UK. Under legislation specially introduced for the London Games, they have the right to enter shops and offices and bring court action with fines of up to Ł20,000.
Olympics organisers have warned businesses that during London 2012 their advertising should not include a list of banned words, including "gold", "silver" and "bronze", "summer", "sponsors" and "London".
Publicans have been advised that blackboards advertising live TV coverage must not refer to beer brands or brewers without an Olympics deal, while caterers and restaurateurs have been told not to advertise dishes that could be construed as having an association with the event.
At the 40 Olympics venues, 800 retailers have been banned from serving chips to avoid infringing fast-food rights secured by McDonald’s.
Marina Palomba, for the McCann Worldgroup agency in London, described the rules as "the most draconian law in advance of an Olympic Games ever".
Read the full article at: independent.co.uk
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