1 min Read
August 3, 2012

Let the Games Begin

Meghan Teich

Around here, we’re all doing our part to feel the Olympic spirit. On Day One, during a bit of noncompetitive in-office sporting, we discovered that Maddy Milan is nearly as skilled at triple jumping as she is at strategizing.

I, for one, have been indulging in an almost freakish obsession with gymnastics (The spirit! The sparkles! The sportsmanship! McKayla Maroney’s vault!).

And just last week, when Nickie–one of two Ducks who were born and raised across the pond–went home to visit family, those of us in Brooklyn were pretty jealous. (Though there weren’t really grounds for jealousy. As it turns out, England is more than just London, and Nickie was in Bristol, nowhere near Olympic Park. Oh well.)

But we’ve also been talking about the London Organizing Committee’s protection of the Games’ official sponsors and of the Olympic brand itself–an overzealous (to say the least) crackdown on any illegal associations with the Olympics.

Here are a few highlights, just in case you haven’t yet read about it: An army of purple-hat-wearing brand police can enter nearby businesses and fine them up to $31,000 for unauthorized use of Olympic connections. There’s a whole set of rules, and some are rather specific: a list of banned words includes “summer,” “gold,” and even “London.”

For a few non-sponsors who are pushing the envelope without breaking the law, the stringent rules have actually given them new ways to flex their creative muscles. Paddy Power’s posters take jabs at Olympic brand protection. (After a brief legal struggle, Paddy Power emerged victorious.)

Nike just launched its “Find Your Greatness” campaign, releasing a TV spot that features all the Londons of the world–all except London, England, and which, you must admit, is pretty clever in how it captures the Olympics’ essence without a single mentions of the games themselves.

This just goes to show how provocative following the rules can be. (Badminton players, take note.