Britain flooded with ‘brand police’ to protect sponsors [the independent]


Hundreds of uniformed Olympics officers will begin touring the country today enforcing sponsors’ multimillion-pound marketing deals, in a highly organised mission that contrasts with the scramble to find enough staff to secure Olympic sites.

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. The clampdown goes on while 3,500 soldiers on leave are brought in to bail out the security firm G4S which admitted it could not supply the numbers of security staff it had promised.

Yesterday, the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, refused to rule out that even more soldiers may be called upon to help with security, but dismissed the issue as merely a “hitch”. However, as well as the regular Army, the Olympic “brand army” will start its work with a vengeance today.

Wearing purple caps and tops, the experts in trading and advertising working for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) are heading the biggest brand protection operation staged in the UK. Under legislation specially introduced for the London Games, they have the right to enter shops and offices and bring court action with fines of up to £20,000.

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