Reasons to hate the Olympics, 5: An orgy of advertising

Much more has been written about this elsewhere (I’m going to link to some relevant articles), but some points are worth reiterating and compiling:

The Olympic Games are an advertiser’s wet dream, because:

1. The Olympic Act makes provision for the so-called ‘right of forced entry’ – that police and private security companies will be allowed to enter into houses or other buildings without warrants – not only on the grounds of security but to remove anything that could be seen as ambush marketing or unauthorised protest, such as banners, images, posters.

I’m sure we can rely on private security companies to exercise due restraint.

2. There is a Brand Exclusion Zone around all Olympic areas, which in effect means that non-affiliated companies will be banned from selling and advertising in certain areas, for example disallowing payment with any other card than a Visa. It goes as far as logos on hairdryers and urinals.

More seriously, this will also place restrictions on what can be worn by visitors.

3. Sponsors get there images plastered over television coverage and newspaper photography (because, as remarked upon before, the media couldn’t possibly turn a blind eye). Everything has been whipped up into such an “event” that apparently running stories analysing companies’ slogans and reproducing their billboard campaigns is a useful service.

This is despite the fact that some of the sponsors are pretty awful companies, such as Dow Chemical, BP, and Cisco, which already has form marketing I.T. infrastructure to China with the explicit intention that it should be used for censorship.

4. New media – Twitter accounts such as spacehijackers have already been threatened for appropriating branding and parodying official announcements. Both Twitter and Facebook seem happy to comply with regulations banning user-posted photos from around the Games – because they want to control the images that come out, as mentioned in the video here regarding the visuals at the development sites.

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