Last week news went viral that McDonald’s had secured the right to be the exclusive hawker of fried potato products at the Games.
There is one exception, however: the iconic British duo of fish and chips. Replace the halibut with a burger or sausage and you’ll be booted from London’s infamous’ brand exclusion zones.
The Guardian reports that LOCOG had to gain special permission for its caterers to serve fries to those working on the grounds after the ban caused massive uproar among the employees preparing the site. The rule, however, will stay in place for spectators (who will also be prevented from bringing “excessive” amounts of food and bottled water to the games).
And in case spectators were hoping to wash down those fish and chips with a refreshing Newcastle or Carling, they’ll have to think again.
Dutch brewer Heineken is the Games’ official beer, putting LOCOG at odds with Liberal Democrat Greg Mulholland, who raised the issue in Parliament. His website says, “by choosing a mass-produced, bland foreign lager, the committee has ignored all the wonderful, traditional beers that the UK has to offer and instead gone for the company with the biggest [chequebook].”
LOCOG has been stirring up plenty of controversy for its aggressive approach to enforcing sponsorship and Olympic trademark protections, which can be traced back to the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act of 2006, formulated specifically to protect the value of Olympic sponsorships.
Trademarks like “London 2012” and the tagline “Higher, Faster, Stronger” cannot be used by businesses operating around the Olympic park, but other less direct words will also be prohibited. “London,” “Summer,” “Gold,” Silver” and “Bronze,” cannot be used, for example, if their intended meaning references the Games, reports the Independent.
In a now-famous case, one proprietor was forced to change the name of his establishment from Olympic Café to ‘Lympic Café. In another case, local florists were given a warning by officials because of their window display, which featured the Olympic rings made out of tissue paper.
The East London district where the Games are being held is famous for its thriving artistic community, and some artists, such as Bristol street artist Criminal Chalklist, have taken to the streets in protest of the law.
There’s still plenty of time to place bets on London 2012’s legacy. Right now the brand politics surrounding the games seems like a pretty good wager. But, then again, that might change once the torch is lit and the athletes take their rightful place in the spotlight.