Shush! Don’t mention the Olympics!

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I got the weekly marketing email from eBay yesterday and the main box out section was “Turn your home into a stadium, with our great choice home electronics”. I’ve no problem with this per se, but the reason eBay are being so coy and not saying “Get yourself a big telly to watch the Olympics” is because they don’t want to get sued.

I’ve yet to see much positive Olympic PR, although to be fair David Cameron did a great job of trying to paper over the cracks of LOCOG’s team yesterday, even praising the last government for helping bring the Games to the UK. The trouble is that LOCOG are so desperately trying to protect the investment of the sponsors that everyone else is scared to mention the Olympics in their marketing in case they get a £20,000 fine.

It didn’t help the brand police cause last week, when Seb Coe arbitrarily banned spectators from turning up to the games wearing anything with a Pepsi logo. When pressed he said you might be ok wearing Nike trainers, but he appears to be so obsessed about the sponsors that he’s stifling the country’s small businesses from benefiting from the Olympics. Embarrassingly LOCOG didn’t back up Lord Coe saying “Any individual coming into our venues can wear any item of clothing, branded or otherwise”.

With the brand mafia on the warpath it’s not surprising that everyone including eBay is subtly alluding to the London 2012 Olympic Games as ““. On eBay’s Olympic themed microsite, the “” link gets you Olympic branded merchandise, but they don’t dare to actually mention the 2012 Games in their marketing. Whilst the UKTI has opened up the British Business Embassy at Lancaster House, to tout for overseas trade, the rest of the country are worrying about what they can and can’t say to attract consumers to their wares.

eBay warn their sellers to and can only be used in compliance with legal guidance“. It’s no surprise eBay themselves talk about Stadiums and the Summer of sports and don’t mention the Olympic Games.

The one person who really appears to have seen sense is London Mayor Boris Johnson, who scoffed saying “If you want to stick five doughnuts in your window and call them Olympic rings then be my guest” and “If bakers want to make a gigantic Olympic pretzel in the high streets of London to advertise their wares then let them do so“. He left LOCOG in no doubt of his meaning insisting “I think it’s absolute nonsense. Certainly no brand army is going have support of the administration in London – and we won’t be making any efforts to enforce it ourselves”

So enjoy the Summer of Sports Opening Ceremony this evening. Cheer for our athletes, but shush… don’t mention the London 2012 Olympic Games. That’s not allowed.

28 Responses

  1. There is a list of what you can and cannot say in conjunction with other words etc, I took one look at it and decided not to bother with any form of marketing to do with the Olympics although I admit whenever I see “proud sponsor of the Olympics” on TV I immediately think “bunch of ****, you want me to buy your over inflated product so you can spend millions being “the official dishwasher detergent” or whatever nonsense. If a company had an ego…

  2. Aside from ambush marketing the ban on using Olympic trademarks should be ignored completely. Even in just this short article there is confusion from official sources what is and isn’t allowed. Keep it simple and let the small man make a few quid.

  3. I have expected the Olympics to be a shambles ever since Seb Coe was appointed to be in charge of it all. Seb Coe was an MP for a Cornish Constituency(Falmouth Camborne).

    Over the years we in Cornwall have had some totally useless MP’s. Seb Coe was certainly in that category. Some would argue that he was the very worst. I am not certain if that was true because I can think of one or two who were even worse.

    It might go some way to explain why the flags of Wales, Scotland etc are welcome at the Olympics but that the flag of Cornwall is specifically banned.
    Yet at the recent Procession along the River Thames in regard to the Queens Jubilee there were several ships and boats flying the flag of Cornwall

  4. a dirty big bottle of Coke bunged in front of Ryan Giggs at a press conference was so naff

  5. Actually one of you is a procrastinating buffoon and the other is a wind up merchant, you can choose which is which.

    Problem is that you are probably putting folk off commenting on this site.

    So you may want to take a look at yourselves.



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