"London 2012" or "the four-yearly international sporting event in our
capital city". Which do you prefer? The snappy title we have all become
familiar with? Or the cumbersome description of our already beloved
games? No contest. However, if Parliament passes the Olympics Bill in
its current form, businesses will have to tread carefully when making
references to London 2012.

The IOC takes sponsorship and marketing very seriously. As everyone
knows, sports sponsorship is big business, especially when it comes to
the Olympics. Multi-national companies pay huge sums to secure
association with the Olympics in their promotional campaigns. An
estimated £580 million of London 2012's operating budget will come from
sponsorship. With such figures at stake, the IOC and London 2012 are
aiming to protect their lucrative sponsors from tactics such as ambush
marketing, whereby non-official sponsors take advantage of the goodwill
associated with an event.

Non-official sponsors are already prevented from using certain Olympic
Marks, but the Bill goes further to prevent ambush marketing.
Combinations of the following on any form of advertising are also
caught – "London", "2012", "games", "gold", "silver", "bronze",
"medals" and "summer". There are also provisions to control marketing
and trading activities within the vicinity of the London games. The
Bill has already been criticised by some within the industry as
going too far.  While the IOC and London 2012 must protect their
sponsors, the vision of the Olympics as the 'people's games' may be
somewhat dented if the organisers come down too heavily on local
businesses and traders who simply cannot afford to become official

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