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SBD Global/July 17, 2012/Olympics

England Flooded With 'Brand Police' To Protect Sponsors

Hundreds of uniformed Olympics officers began touring England Monday enforcing sponsors' multi-million-pound marketing deals, in "a highly organised mission," according to Martin Hickman of the London INDEPENDENT. Almost 300 enforcement officers will be seen across the country checking firms to ensure they "are not staging ambush marketing or illegally associating themselves with the Games" at the expense of official sponsors such as adidas, McDonald's, Coca-Cola and BP. Wearing purple caps and tops, the experts in trading and advertising working for the Olympic Delivery Authority "are heading the biggest brand protection operation staged" in the U.K. (INDEPENDENT, 7/16). The INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES' Ewan Palmer reported that the ODA "has ordered companies to refrain from using a list of Olympic-themed words" in their advertising promotions during the Games. The list includes "gold, silver, bronze and London." Under legislation specifically created for the London Games, the enforcement officers "have the power to enter the premises of traders they believe to be contravening the advertising regulations, and impose fines" of up to £20,000 ($32,000) (IBTIMES.co.uk, 7/16).

NO TWEETS: In London, Sebastian Joseph reported that the move comes "in the same week that Olympic chiefs are invoking a blackout for non-sponsors to use athletes in their promotions." The regulation will also "prevent athletes from posting tweets about their individual sponsors" on Twitter as part of a social media and blogging policy to "ensure that they don’t accidentally break regulations." During the Games Period -- from July 18 to Aug. 15 -- athletes as well as spectators at any Olympic venue will be "banned from making any reference to non-sponsors" on Twitter (MARKETINGWEEK.co.uk, 7/16).
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