SBD/March 8, 2011/Olympics

Ambush Marketing Crackdown Planned For '12 London Olympics

Handing out "free T-shirts or hiring a plane to sky-write messages near London 2012 Games venues and major transport hubs has been outlawed by the Government in its anti-ambush marketing legislation," according to Jacquelin Magnay of the London TELEGRAPH. The government said that individuals "will still have the right to express opinions by means of a peaceful protest -- if their banners are displayed on private property." People "will also be allowed to display protest slogans outside Games venues." But the government "has vowed to clamp down on any non-Olympic companies seeking to gain a benefit from associating with the Games and has banned activities such as sky-writing, flyers, posters, billboards and projected advertising within 200 metres of any Olympic venue." Companies face a "£20,000 fine for breaching the rules." Standard shop signage and in-store advertising "will be exempt under the legislation, which will expire on Aug 14 next year." However, traders who are affected "will have to apply to the Olympic Delivery Authority for a free licence to be allowed to continue to trade." The rules will apply to a "broad area of London and Olympic venues outside the capital, but only on the days when competition takes place." U.K. Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson said that sponsorship "contributes half of the £2 billion budget for staging the Games and the regulations will prevent ambush marketing and unauthorised trading." Meanwhile, Transport Minister Theresa Villiers has announced a "no-fly zone over the Olympic Park at Stratford from two weeks before the Olympic Games opening ceremony until the end of the Paralympics to protect the Games from terrorist and security threats" (London TELEGRAPH, 3/8).   
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