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It's Illegal for You to Say "Olympics" in London Right Now

Heads up, Londoners; best scrub away any reference to the Olympics on your home or person. Five-ringed decorations, signage boasting a pun on "the games", banners alluding to "gold"—toss them out. And burn away anything else that the "brand police...

by Brian Merchant
Jul 20 2012, 2:00pm

Heads up, Londoners; best scrub away any reference to the Olympics at your home or on your person. Five-ringed decorations, signage boasting a pun on “the games”, banners alluding to "gold"—toss them out. And ditch anything else that the “brand police” might decide detracts value from the 2012 Olympics’ mighty sponsors.

You think I’m being snide, but nay. It’s actually currently illegal for an individual or small business to use those words in any manner that might be construed to be profit-seeking. The Independent reports that "Almost 300 enforcement officers will be seen across the country checking firms to ensure they are not staging “ambush marketing” or illegally associating themselves with the Games at the expense of official sponsors such as Adidas, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and BP."

Here are the words that you must not speak or evoke in any context that may infringe on the rights of the oil and fast food companies to reap sizable enough profits from the Olympics:

  • “Olympics” (obviously)
  • “gold”
  • “silver”
  • “bronze”
  • “summer”
  • “sponsors”
  • “London”
  • “games”

See for yourself:

Now, protests follow the Olympics around wherever they go, and they’re sure to sprout up anew after this egregious brand fidelity campaign.

Bring them on; this is getting silly. For there is more, from the video:

“Publicans have been advised that blackboards advertising live TV coverage must not refer to beer brands or brewers without an Olympics deal, while caterers and restaurateurs have been told not to advertise dishes that could be construed as having an association with the event. At the 40 Olympics venues, 800 retailers have been banned from serving chips to avoid infringing fast-food rights secured by McDonald’s.”

It’s not enough to anoint the world’s largest McDonald’s at the 2012 Olympics. We also must deploy what is quite literally a small army of copyright lawyers to comb the country for off-brand promotion of the games?

We are now entering the realm of the truly bizarre; we must not only enshrine but forcibly protect the corporate benefactors who are making synchronized swimming and the world’s most one-sided basketball games possible. WITHOUT MCDONALD’S HIGH-JUMPING IS NOT POSSIBLE. Be grateful that these corporations are sponsoring the games, silly Londoners. Put away your homages and trifles, and stuff your dissenting mouths with Olympic-themed Big Macs.

Lead image via @Zoelee