Brands launch backlash against brand police

Brewdog has become the latest brand to try and provoke Olympic chiefs into action by launching a limited edition ‘Olympic beer’ that it claims is “laced with performance enhancing ingredients”.


The Scottish brewer is launching its ‘Never Mind the Anobolics’ 6.5% India Pale Ale this week in the hope that it will “undermine global sponsorship deals” for the London 2012 Games. Its packaging is likely to raise a few eyebrows at Locog for featuring rings, which could be deemed as a breach of sponsors’ exclusivity rights.

Brewdog says: “Never Mind the Anabolics takes its lead from the relentless marketing campaigns of global fast-food chains and international mass production breweries that replace the sporting spirit with a fast buck, a greasy burger and an ugly plastic cup of insipid, fizzy, yellow lager.”

The company’s beer arrives in the same week as off-licence chain Oddbins unveiled what it claims is a “counter-marketing strike” against Olympic chiefs. The retailer is offering a 30% discount to anyone who visits its stores with products from non-sponsors.

Meanwhile, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power courted controversy earlier this week when it launched a PR push around Locog’s investigation into whether its campaign for the ‘The greatest sporting event in London, France’ was in breach of any branding laws.

Organisers’ attempts to stamp out ambush marketing around the Games in recent months may have backfired, according to sponsorship observers, and could spark a raft of similar tactical campaigns from non-sponsors.

Rupert Pratt, managing director at sponsorship agency Generate, says the stunts are setting a precedent for what brands can and can’t get way with, adding that it will “fuel future ideas” for ambush marketing.

He adds: “The interesting thing will be to look at how Locog responds to the stunts. It’s as if the likes of Paddy Power are taunting Locog into getting drawn into a public debate around the branding laws and if this happens they’ll generate more coverage for them.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here