The local pubs and stores of London are definitely excited to kick off the 2012 Olympic Games, but you’ll never hear them say so! Apparently, Olympic brand enforcements have put the smack down on London businesses, heading up the largest brand protection operation the country has ever seen. Wearing their intimidating purple hats and shirts, the Olympic Delivery Authority is one of the four major brand enforcement Gestapos who can legally enter any local business, checking to make sure they aren’t using any banned trade names or advertising. Businesses were given a list of banned words, some of which are “Olympic(s),” “London,” “Games,” “Summer,” “Two thousand and twelve,” “gold,” “silver,” “bronze” and “summer.” A business found to be in violation will face court action and some serious fines.
Local businesses were also told to watch their backs when advertising things on blackboards or dry-erase boards. For example, any pubs advertising live TV coverage of “the Games whose name we do not speak of” must also make sure they do not mention any beer brand name or brewers without an official Olympics deal. Restaurants have been told not to advertise any specials that could even be construed as having a slight association with the Olympic Games. As if that’s not enough, 800 local retailers were banned from even serving potato chips. Why? To keep from infringing on the fast-food rights owned by McDonald’s, of course.
With all these banned words and potato chips, local businesses have decided to get creative. If they can’t use the “O” word, then they will work around it instead. One local pub in Camden actually put a chalkboard out on their sidewalk that said, “The torch with no name will pass by here,” instead of worrying about using any banned words or innuendos. Another pub decided to display their outdoor sign saying, “Guess why we’ll be open Thursday,” and then highlighting their hours of operation during the torch relay that takes place Thursday. It may take some work to advertise without paying for the big “O,” but sometimes …you just have to fake it.
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