London 2012: Olympics Advertising Tightly Enforced

Olympics organizers are doing what they can to eliminate competition for their sponsors. Too much maybe?

Several media outlets are making sport of the London Olympics' so-called "Brand Exclusion Zone" in Olympic Park and general uptightness elsewhere. While many venues will be patrolled by what the Guardian has termed "branding police," Olympic Park will be in a virtual advertising lockdown, according to reports.

Many unofficial brands can expect to be treated like the interlopers they are for England's big party. Officials want to ensure that sponsors such as VISA, McDonald's and Samsung get their hundreds of millions of dollars' worth -- and that means eliminating guerrilla advertising.

While some critics believe jolly old London is being a gold-medal fuddy-duddy, judge for yourself.

Among the plans:

-- Preventing spectators from prominently displaying a competing brand on their clothing if they're suspected of shilling, as per So leave that Wendy's Hot 'N' Juicy T-shirt at home. The world's biggest McDonald's will be waiting for you.

-- Prohibiting athletes from Tweeting about brands that are not official Olympics sponsors, wrote the Guardian.

-- Accepting only VISA credit cards, as the BBC reported a while ago.

-- Cracking down on businesses that use marketing copy or signage that hint at the Olympics. Even already-existing corporate stadium names are being covered if they aren't official Olympics sponsors, the BBC said. Logos on toilets and hand dryers will be masked as well.

In all fairness, assures vendors on its site that "business as usual" advertising is OK for shop signs and in-store promoting, but other areas around the venues will be subject to tighter restrictions "to prevent ambush marketing."

So what happened to the CAFE LYMPIC [sic] (photo above)? The "O" was there before apparently. Associated Press asked the manager, and he clammed up. As severe as the measures seem, let's hope gag orders aren't part of the deal.