London 2012 Olympic Meltdown Countdown – The Brand Police

July 25, 2012

Dear reader. I may be in trouble.

I’ve been using the words London, Olympics, 2012 and permutations of all three on this blog for the last year or so. But I should be careful now, because the brand guardians of the ‘O’ word have been cracking down hard on those they believe to have breached the protective force surrounding the quintet of connected hoops. Butchers and bakers have been forced to take down their shop window displays of sausages and bagels depicting that logo. They’ll soon be going for the candlestick makers.

The tightness of the branding, unlike our security, has made my annual trawl for event related tat, which I would’ve posted on this blog for your pleasure, almost impossible. Because unlike recent royal events, which became a jamboree for plastic crap, enabling the nation to feel a part of the occasion, this clampdown has only served to engrave the notion that this event is not for us who are paying for it, but for the sponsors and our (not necessarily) betters.

However, all is not lost. On Facebook, my attention was turned to this:

that big event in london bags unofficial Olympic merchandise

© Tobatron/Mark Cocksedge

These can be bought for a limited time only at the not unreasonable price of £15. Profits will go to support sustainable employment in Malawi. To get a bag and read a bit more about this project go to this site: http://thatbigeventinlondon.co.uk/ The green one really speaks to me. I’m getting that one as soon as it’s back in stock (and hopefully before the brand police pull the product).

Others have found ways to wriggle from the stranglehold of the fascists brand protectors as shown in this article from CBC News.

There’s a list of words and phrases that cannot be used by businesses while we have the Olympics. One of them is the Paralympic motto ‘Spirit in Motion’. Do you think the Bee Gees would get away with this?

Here’s a little slideshow I made earlier, illustrating those banned words and phrases. This slideshow feature in WordPress uses every image you have in your post and makes it part of the show. I can’t edit it, so you’ll see the bag image again at the end. Apologies.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So there you have it. This summer, our London Games in 2012 will be fantastic. In Twenty Twelve our Olympians and Paralympians will go faster, higher, stronger, with their spirit in motion. There will be gold, silver and bronze medals up for grabs and the sponsors will be very happy if the athletes they supported get the big ones at this Olympiad. Two thousand and twelve will be a year to remember.

Now sue me.



  1. Are you all getting the line about how all this is good for the city?

    • Oh-ho yes. We’ve had it since we first found out that we won the right to host the ‘O’. The word that was used most often was ‘Legacy’. The myriad of broken promises and in some instances bare faced lies we’ve endured since, means those fine words and phrases are now wearing very thin.

      I have every intention of enjoying the event itself over these next few weeks, because I really believe it will be great. But I’ll be ankle biting again if I see any more nonsense coming from these games when it’s over.

  2. Wow! That was good

    • Wow! It must have been good if you felt moved to comment. Thanks very much. Nice to have you on board again. I hope to hear more from you in future posts.

  3. Happily i think you will get away with this as a blog is considered news or reporting which is exempt from this horror show level of control freakery! ‘fair dealing’ and those kinds of laws will cover your back. However the bags person could get in a whole heap of poo – the font is too close for comfort though phrasing pretty safe and they are doing that most heinous of things – making money but not being coca cola, McDonald’s etc…

    • They could get into trouble for it. Or maybe not. Fingers crossed, I manage to get a bag before it’s pulled from production.

  4. Wonderful post. I loved the photos from the CBC article.

    I just hope you haven’t put your blog at risk through your slide show. If you need anyone to come bail you out, I’ll catch the first plane over.

    • I think I’m on safe ground now. But I’ll keep you in a drawer. Just in case.

  5. Cracking down and restricting the use of the word Olympics?! Of all things that should be universally “available.” Ridiculous. That’s how it is in the US these days over the Super Bowl (yes, I said it). If your corporation is not the official big bucks promoter, it must be referred to (or at least is commonly referred to for fear of lawsuit) as The Big Game.

    • Regarding the Super Bowl: before our experience with the ‘O’, I would’ve asked if you were kidding, as an exclamation. Now, I’m not surprised by this. Somehow that makes me sad.

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