Retailers warned over Olympic branding

Rules in place to prevent ?ambush marketing? by businesses who aren?t Olympic partners.
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Retailers are being advised to ‘play the patriotism card’ during the Games instead of using Olympic branding.

Those displaying official London 2012 Olympic imagery in window displays, such as the iconic five rings, could be ordered to take them down. And retailers could get into trouble if unofficial Olympic products are sold.

France 24 reports that Olympic Games organisers hope to sell some £1 billion in official merchandise, which includes a range of toys.

Retailers such as butcher Dennis Spurr and JJ’s Lingerie have already been ordered by Trading Standards officers to remove window displays featuring the Olympic rings. This is because the Olympic rings, London 2012 logo and mascot are protected by law.

UK parliament previously passed the 2006 London Olympics Games Act, which gives sponsors and licensees exclusive authorization to associate themselves with the Olympics.

A spokesperson for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) said: "In order to stage the Games we had to raise at least £700 million in sponsorship, and we cannot do that if we do not offer our partners protection.

"The London 2012 brand is our most valuable asset and if we did not take steps to protect it from unauthorised use and ambush marketing, the exclusive rights which our partners have acquired would be undermined.”

So what can toy retailers do instead?

Paul Jordan, the head of advertising and marketing practice for British law firm Bristows, which is acting for two Olympic partner companies, added: “The legislation is very tough but in many respects necessary to ensure that the lead sponsors that are putting in literally hundreds of millions of pounds are afforded a high level of exclusivity.

“[We advise businesses] play the patriotism card. A lot of advertising campaigns that started with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June and then moved onto Wimbledon, involve a great deal around flag waving.”

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