The Corporate Olympics
July 21, 2012 3:47 PM Subscribe
posted by CheeseDigestsAll (79 comments total)
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On Friday, Baron Sebastian Coe
, the conservative politician, former athlete, and Nike board member who
is chair of LOCOG (the London Organizing Committee) for the 2012 games, ignited a furor
when he said anyone wearing a Pepsi T-shirt is likely to be "booted out" because it would
upset Coca-Cola, who is an official sponsor.
LOCOG later overruled Coe, though the official list of prohibited items includes "Any objects or clothing bearing political statements or overt commercial identification intended for ‘ambush marketing’".
Coe has continued to defend "protecting" the sponsors, but mockery of ham-handed enforcement is has been wide-spread, as when police officers were told
not to be seen with french fries other than those by McDonalds, chocolate other than Cadbury, or other non-sponsor snacks. (They could purchase other brands, but they had to be emptied into clear plastic containers.)
The backlash against the corporations has forced some changes, however. Originally, the sponsors were granted significant tax breaks on profits made during the games, but public pressure has forced GE, McDonalds, and Coke to decline
the temporary tax haven.