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Londoners complain of strict Olympics branding code

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 01:48

July 24 - Londoners are frustrated by strict corporate branding policies of the Olympics, as the government insists the commercial rights of sponsors will be protected in a sensible and proportionate fashion. Sarah Sheffer reports.

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Just a couple miles from the Olympic park, two men rapidly paste up a billboard. The image left behind is of ranks of poli cemen, with the slogan 'inspire a generation', and an Olympic logo denoting 'official protester' instead of official sponsor. It is a calculated act of 'brandalism', an artistic protest over the corporate branding of the London Games -- an issue that has caused frustrations in the city over the promotion and protection of particular sponsors. Local businesses have been concerned by the special "brand police" out on the streets - safeguarding the commercial rights of its official sponsors and dealing heavy fines for anyone even vaguely associating themselves with the games. This cafe, for instance, was made to take the "O" out of its name until the Games are over. Public concern over how far such protection would be pursued was aroused a week before the Games when chairman Seb Coe appeared to suggest members of the public could be prevented from wearing the logos of non-sponsors at Olympic events. But Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson says this will not be the case. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HUGH ROBERTSON, OLYMPICS MINISTER, SAYING: "You cross the border if you get a group of people all turning up in Pepsi t-shirts and it then turns into ambush marketing. That's the point at which one turns into the other. But individuals wearing Pepsi t-shirts will not be banned at the games." The Olympics generates 10 percent of its money from sponsorship deals that allow a select number of companies to sell merchandise with the official logo and general association to the event. Sarah Sheffer, Reuters

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Londoners complain of strict Olympics branding code

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 01:48