Corporate State and the Olympics

Wow.

The most carefully policed Brand Exclusion Zone will be around the Olympic Park, and extend up to 1km beyond its perimeter, for up to 35 days. Within this area, officially called anAdvertising and Street Trade Restrictions venue restriction zone, no advertising for brands designated as competing with those of the official Olympic sponsors will be allowed. (Originally, as detailed here, only official sponsors were allowed to advertise, but leftover sites are now available). This will be supported by preventing spectators from wearing clothing prominently displaying competing brands, or from entering the exclusion zone with unofficial snack and beverage choices. Within the Zone, the world's biggest McDonald's will be the only branded food outlet, and Visa will be the only payment card accepted.

This brand apartheid is designed to prevent "ambush marketing", the gaining exposure of an brand through unofficial means. One of the best known examples of this was in the World Cup in 2010, where a bevy of 36 Dutch beauties in orange dresses provided by Bavaria beer gained considerable media attention, to the chagrin of the official World Cup beer, Budweiser. At London 2012, branding 'police' will be on hand to ensure that nothing like this happens, with potential criminal prosecutions against those responsible. Organising committee LOCOG will also take steps to ensure that no unofficial business tries to associate itself with the Olympics by using phrases like 'London 2012', even on such innocuous things such as a cafe menu offering an 'Olympic breakfast'....And it's not just London. All the venues for the 2012 Olympics will be on brand lockdown. In Coventry, even the roadsigns will be changed so that there is no reference to the Ricoh Arena, which is hosting matches in the football tournament. Even logos on hand dryers in the toilets are being covered up. The Sports Direct Arena in Newcastle will have to revert back to St. James Park for the duration of the Olympics.

 

  • anoNY

    Wow. Can't wait for politicians on this side of the pond to start using these tactics for their national conventions; your "Coke" and "Pepsi" parties, indeed...

  • marco73

    Branding police, removing street signs, really?
    The whole point of "ambush marketing" is to break rules to get noticed.
    Just wait, during the Olympics, some really smart marketer will come up with some way to be all over the international press, get arrested, and get even more publicity.

  • None

    Can you believe you can't buy a ticket from the main site unless you have a Visa card ?
    I was so disgusted I have ordered a MasterCard which I expect to use where possible for future purchases.
    It's unbelievable to me that MasterCard do not make marketing hay from this.
    You really have to hand it to the Olympic committee for making the event as repulsive as possible.

  • Will

    Thats what you get when you don't have a constitution or bill of rights.

  • DoctorT

    "...some really smart marketer will come up with some way to be all over the international press, get arrested, and get even more publicity..."

    Buy seat-specific tickets and have them occupied by people wearing a bold color. (Or approach people with the seats of interest and pay them to wear a particular outfit.) The seating arrangement would spell the name of your product or be in the shape of your logo, but none of the branding rules would be violated... [this time].

  • QuantumMechanic

    @Will - don't get too cocky. Something like this (though only pertaining to food vendors and souvenir sales) happens on the **public** streets around Fenway Park for every Red Sox home game.

  • Hasdrubal

    @Will: Commercial speech,like branding, get far, far less protection under the First Amendment than most other speech. I wouldn't be surprised if this were Constitutional here, too. There would certainly be some lawsuits, but I wouldn't say for certain that challengers would win.

    First reaction: This sounds like a great way for the host country to capture a nice chunk of the advertising revenue. I certainly hope they're making the IOC or advertisers pay through the nose for this service, defraying some of the other costs of hosting.

    Second reaction: Dutch girls in orange giving out Bavaria beer? Huh? I suppose it was too hard to explain to the German girls in blue and white that they were there to advertise beer, not complain about vuvuzelas?

  • IGotBupkis, Poking Fun At President Downgrade For 4 Years and Counting...

    >>> Just wait, during the Olympics, some really smart marketer will come up with some way to be all over the international press, get arrested, and get even more publicity.

    As long as the MSM doesn't follow suit and hush up anything. Considering the way the sports media have fallen all over themselves to push the "XXX brand YYY Bowl" during December and January -- to the point of using the entire phrase every time it occurs in a newspaper article, for example, I would not put it past them to provide a media blackout for such.

  • IGotBupkis, Poking Fun At President Downgrade For 4 Years and Counting...

    >>> In Coventry, even the roadsigns will be changed so that there is no reference to the Ricoh Arena, which is hosting matches in the football tournament. Even logos on hand dryers in the toilets are being covered up. The Sports Direct Arena in Newcastle will have to revert back to St. James Park for the duration of the Olympics.

    Now, if the OWS types were true anarchists, they'd make a point of doing everything possible to fold, spindle, and mutilate such "protections" against improper "logoture".

  • IGotBupkis, Poking Fun At President Downgrade For 4 Years and Counting...

    >>>> Buy seat-specific tickets and have them occupied by people wearing a bold color.

    Actually, if you picked a fairly unique color, and just asked anyone who took your free shirt to say to at least five people not wearing the same shirt that "I got it from xxx" then that might actually make for an interesting campaign. Pure word-of-mouth advertising.

    Even better if you offered a free coupon to anyone posting a picture of their shirt at the event on their facebook account, blah blah blah.

    There's A LOT of money to be made in producing an inventive, multifaceted marketing strategy that just blows past these fascist bastards.

    "The more you tighten your grip, LOCOG, the more advertisements will slip through your fingers..."
    :D

    >>>> from entering the exclusion zone with unofficial snack and beverage choices.
    Yeesh. This alone would make me utterly unwilling to go to the flinkin' thing. I don't like Disney being this controlling, but at least THAT is all private property.