Quick, hide the chips

It wasn’t enough that “brand police” check every bathroom in every Olympic venue removing or taping over manufacturers’ logos (on soap dispensers, wash basins and toilets).

“At the 40 Olympics venues, 800 retailers have been banned from serving chips to avoid infringing fast-food rights secured by McDonald’s.”

Quoted from The Independent.

Fish and chips in newspaper
Fish and chips ad by Joe Public, via Ads of the World

The one exception is the fish and chips combo, seemingly allowed.

In addition, during London 2012 businesses can’t have these banned words in their advertising: “gold”, “silver”, “bronze”, “summer”, “sponsors” and “London”.

I wouldn’t be as bothered if more of the bill was footed by corporate sponsors, but…

“Some £1.4bn of the Games’ £11.4bn budget comes from private sector sponsors.”

That’s £10bn of public funding, despite an initial estimated total cost of £2.375bn (PDF).

Let’s just close the blinds and watch films.

The Truth About The Branding Of The Games, on Sky News
Olympic ring bagels banned from cafe window, on Mail Online

11 responses

  1. This is an issue very close to my heart! 100% of my clients are small businesses (not to mention the fact that I am a small business as well) and I see our cities run over small business constantly chasing after international corporations. Then when the chase is over they give steep tax breaks to the corporation and lose the taxes that would have been paid by small business. Insanity! The most wonderful towns and cities in America are the ones global corporations have chosen to ignore! It would be nice if ALL business could benfit from events like the Olympics in equal competition and corporations were not given the right to compete on steriods! lol
    (By the way I’m cheering for the Canadian team in swimming this year as a relative Tommy Gossland will be competing! )

  2. I agree with Meredith, this happens far too frequently, especially with regards to sports venues. There’s nothing wrong with having sponsors but if public funds are being used, the entire community should receive some benefits from the events being held in their area.

    No offense but I don’t think England’s cuisine and food culture is very well respected. Allowing McDonalds (which in all honesty I do like) to have such a huge advantage over local eateries seems to be a missed opportunity for promoting local food culture. I’m not suggesting that they or other large companies should be banned but they shouldn’t be given unfair advantages. On the other hand, if someone from abroad would travel all the way to London to eat McDonalds french fries, the local eateries probably wouldn’t have had much of a chance anyway.

    I know that in the UK they refer to french fries as “chips”. In UK ads and stores does McDonalds refer to their french fries as “french fries” or as “chips”?

  3. This is beyond a joke. I did some flyers for a local business then realised we were not allowed to use the word Olympic or London 2012, so had to go with Sporting Event for fear of being sued. It’s not fair when the taxpayer is fitting the bill anyway.

  4. That’s the same private sector sponsors who have also hoovered up a lot of the premium tickets to give away as prizes after purchasing their goods.

    Making back the majority of the money they’ve spent to sponsor the games in the first place.

    I like Olympics, but ever since we won the 2012 games I’ve grown sick of the constant force fed sponsorship/advertising and the “climate of fear” inducing stories about the lack of security, pick pockets, brand police. I’ll be watching, but I’ll be glad when it’s all over with.

    “The official cereal bar of the London 2012 Olympic Games” sums it all up for me.

  5. This is pathetic. I agree, David, I think I’ll be watching films or – even better – going out and enjoying the sunshine.

    I hadn’t heard about the brand removal/censorship, but there’s a simple solution – if they don’t want anything but official sponsors displaying their wares, then they should only use products made by official sponsors. Who fancies using a Heineken toilet or a Cadbury sink?

    As for the words people can or cannot use, well, I can kind of understand “Olympic”, but “gold”, “silver”, “bronze”, “summer”, “sponsors” and “London”. What if I’m planning a summer sale, or offering a client a trip to London? Do I have to say “warm season sale” or “win a trip to the capital of the UK”?


  6. The power of global brands in dictating what people can sell smacks of monopoly which is the opposite of what the games are about, which is competition. What if the best athletes in the world only agreed to appear if they were the only ones in the race. It makes me dislike them. It makes me want to avoid them.

    If we don’t like the way brands act, if we don’t like their power, if we don’t like how banks like HSBC or Barclays act, change your banks, don’t buy their stuff. They will change.

    I’m looking forward to the Olympics, but not because of the opening or closing ceremony. Not because of the buildings (most of which I think are quite boring or ugly with the exception of the velopark which is beautiful).

    I want to watch athletes compete, wave my flag and see records fall and amazing feats of human performance, especially against the odds.

    We had a chance to create a games on a budget, well organised and cheap to really show the world in a time of hardship what can be done with little to contrast with the excess of China. We just haven’t done that. It’s a show.

  7. If only I could afford to go to the olympics, but only to go on strike. This is something that all people should know about, like Richard said, I can also kind of understand why Olympic has been banned, but gold, silver… REALLY!

    So here is my idea, it is not a complete idea yet, however, I just feel like something needs to be done, people have every right to stand up for themselves, and even if you don’t legally have the right, I think you still should, I mean small business’s, people who have helped to fund the olympics are getting pushed into the background. So what they should do is come up with a way to outsmart the system, but here is an example; it is my understanding that they just banded the words, what about pictures? Could you use a picture of gold, or silver , kind of like those books you could read as a child where you would read a sentence, and then when it came to the word boy instead of the word it would be a picture of a little boy. I am certain there is some way to outsmart these brand police.

    Anyways, all the best luck to the small business, my prayers are with you and your families!

  8. I have only one word for this. BOLLOCKS.
    I mean they can’t sue everyone. It’s ridiculous. Mc Donald’s official restaurant of the “London Olympics” you’d have thought it being the british games and all they would be pushing british produce. Especially due to the current economic climate.
    A farmers market near the stadiums, english arts and crafts sales, promoting the craft of this fair nation.

    But hey who am i but a lowly graduate.

  9. In Canada we do not have such outrageous policies. I lived the early years of my life in Reading and have a close bond with Britain, but reading this made me a bit upset.

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