Spectators need not remove branded clothing
LONDON OLYMPICS 2012:SPECTATORS AT the Olympics Games will not be told to remove branded clothing unless they are suspected of being part of a campaign to advertise non-Olympic sponsors, organisers said last night.
The clarification came after London 2012 chairman, Sebastian Coe said those wearing, for example, Pepsi T-shirts may be stopped entering the Olympic Park. “You probably would not be walking in with a Pepsi T-shirt because Coca-Cola are our sponsors,” Lord Coe declared, during an often tetchy early morning radio interview on BBC Radio 4.
His remarks quickly provoked controversy, though London 2012 has insisted throughout that the Games could not be staged without the sponsorship of companies such as Coca-Cola and McDonalds.
Organisers are concerned that companies who have not sponsored the Games will try to repeat the Dutch beer company, Bavaria’s ‘ambush marketing’ during the 2010 World Cup.
Then, 40 women were ejected from the Netherlands v Denmark game after they had attracted significant attention from TV cameras wearing similar orange dresses.
Last evening, a spokesman for London 2012 said: “Any individual coming into our venues can wear any item of clothing, branded or otherwise. The only issue is if large groups come in together wearing clearly visible branding/ marketing.”
Eleven companies have paid €800 million to the International Olympic Council for a four-year worldwide Olympic marketing deal. Meanwhile, London 2012 has raised €900 million from 41 sponsors. Four companies have exclusive rights to sell food and drink inside the Olympic Park: Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Heineken and Cadburys.
However, the organisers have already rejected charges that police and soldiers would be forced to get rid of Walker’s crisps, or put them into unbranded bags: “We are slightly in the territory of straight bananas and other things,” complained Lord Coe.
Three hundred trading standards officials – dressed in purple uniforms – will enforce the branding edicts within 500m of the Olympic venues, with the power to cover up offending logos.
Businesses that break the rules – which were accepted by the Houses of Parliament as part of the price of getting the Games – could face fines of £20,000.
Meanwhile, companies anywhere in the UK could face prosecution if they use a list of banned words – such as gold, sponsors and, even, London – in their marketing in coming weeks.
Olympic athletes have been banned from making any references on social media to their sponsors if they are not also sponsoring the Games.
Spectators – though most do not know it – are also banned from referring to non-Olympic sponsors, or to post video of events on YouTube, or other websites.
Concerned about the mounting negativity towards the Games in London, Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson used an article in The Sun to criticise doubters.
“Oh come off it, everybody – enough whimpering. Cut out the whining,” he wrote.
“And as for you whingers, put a sock in it, fast. We are about to stage the greatest show on earth in the greatest city on earth, and if you believe much of the media we are all in the grip of paralysing stage fright,” he declared.
The organisers have become increasingly irritated by attention that has largely focused on G4S’s security failures and minor logistical blunders.
In an article this week, the influential German magazine, Der Spiegel was sharply critical of London’s readiness for the Games
“London and the Olympic Games are not made for each other,” it complained.
Meanwhile, police yesterday arrested a man who attempted to grab the Olympic flame from a runner on one of its final stretches into London as he shouted “Allah Akbar, God is Great”. He was quickly seized by officers protecting runner Anna Skora, who managed to hold on to the torch throughout the brief incident which took place in Maidstone.