Top Olympic branding breaches

In the week that the “branding police” set out to enforce sponsors’ exclusivity rights to the Games, Marketing Week picks out the most memorable/petty/ridiculous (delete where you think applicable) Olympic brand breaches that have been uncovered so far.

Mum banned for wearing charity wristband during Torch Relay


Earlier this month, Olympic chiefs reportedly told the mother of an injured soldier that she could not wear a wristband for the charity Help for Heroes while she ran the Torch Relay in Rochester today (20 July). Jessica Cheesman had raised £8,000 for the charity after her son Stephen was badly injured in Iraq in 2007.

Tamworth town traders banned from using Olympic branding


Traders in Tamworth are said to have been warned last month that they cannot use the Olympic brand or words associated with the event in the marketing of their businesses. The move was labelled “restrictive” and “pathetic” by businesses, with owners advised to display Union flags as an alternative.

Olympic Cafe owner forced to change name


When it was announced in 2005 that London would be hosting the 2012 Games businesses rushed to adopt an Olympic-themed name. Kamel Kichane, manager of Cafe Olympic in Stratford is thought to have been forced to change the name of his diner to Lympic after he was told he could face legal action over the use of the word Olympic.

Kate Middleton’s family rapped for Olympic breach


Party Pieces, the party planning company owned by the Duchess of Cambridge’s family, is believed to have been the subject of an investigation by Locog earlier this month after claims that it infringed brand protection laws. The site is said to have been selling a range of Olympic-related goods in a section titled ‘Celebrate the Games’ and was illustrated with the Olympic torch. The owners were ordered to make “minor changes” to the site or pay a fine.


Olympic ring bagels banned from cafe window

Southwark council reportedly ordered the owner of a cafe in Camberwell to take down five bagels arranged in the stye of the Olympic rings this month. The display breached exclusivity laws, which prevents non-sponsors from using the Olympic rings in their marketing activity.


Primary school children banned from wearing any other trainers except Adidas

School children taking part in the athletes parade ahead of the Olympic Ceremony have been reportedly “encouraged” to wear Adidas or unbranded footwear or risk being turned away. The Guard of Honour will be beamed into TV sets around the world. The warning marks the latest in a series of crackdowns by Olympics chiefs as they look to enforce the sponsors’ exclusivity rights to the Games.


Shop owner forced to take down Olympic bunting

Branding police reportedly forced a Stoke Newington shopkeeper to tear down down his Games-themed decorations just hours before the Hackney leg of the torch relay last weekend (21 July). Balloons flags and bunting were all removed from the East end shop after the purple uniformed officers insisted the decorations were “unofficial” and breached Olympic branding laws.


Sweater for doll removed from church charity

The British media, which has never seen an underdog it didn’t love, reports that an 81-year old grandmother of six was ordered by branding sleuths to withdraw a doll’s jumper from sale because it bore the Olympic rings. The child’s toy was to be sold at a church charity fare in Norfolk.


BBC presenter’s umbrella confiscated by Olympic brand police

Radio 5Live’s cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew was reportedly forced to hand over his umbrella by stewards because it bore the logo of a non-sponsor. Agnew told listeners the breach had happened at Lords Cricket Ground, where he was covering the Olympic archery event, tweeting that it had “Fallen foul of branding regs – brolly confiscated becasue it has a golf name on it.”


Pimms banned from Wimbledon Olympic venue

The signature drink of the All England Club tournament was banned to protect the exclusivity rights of sponsors such as Coca-Cola and Heineken, according to reports. Diageo owned Pimms is not an official sponsor of the Games and so brand police were forced to prohibit the drink’s appearance during the tournament, which was one by Team GB’s Andy Murray yesterday (5 August).


Olympic chiefs ban photo contest run by non-sponsors

London 2012 lawyers have reportedly banned a crowdsourced competition using amateur photographs taken by spectators inside Olympic venues. It meant that lens manufacturer and non-Olympic sponsor Sigma Imaging UK was forced to re-think its ad campaign or risk being fined by organisers




Carlsberg UK to launch first cider

Seb Joseph

Carlsberg is to enter the UK cider market for this first time ever with the launch of its Somersby brand as it looks to exploit what it claims is a market “enjoying double digit growth.”


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