Daily Mail : Man who introduced corporate sponsorship to the Olympics slams London's over-zealous clampdown on shops and businesses using Games logo.
By Mark Duell and Stephen Wright
PUBLISHED: 02:02, 21 July 2012 | UPDATED: 15:00, 21 July 2012

Former International Olympic Committee marketing chief Michael Payne criticised the organising committee for 'scoring an own goal' over exclusivity rights.

A leading Olympic brand expert last night hit out at the draconian clampdown on local shopkeepers and businesses using the Games logo.

Former International Olympic Committee marketing chief Michael Payne criticised the organising committee for 'scoring an own goal' over exclusivity rights.

He said that the over-zealous rules are 'suffocating local street traders', in the light of critics dubbing London 2012 the 'Censorship Games'.

Mr Payne added that guidelines were 'never intended to shut down the flower shop that put its flowers in Olympic rings in the window'.

He told the Independent: 'The controls and protections have gone too far when it is starting to suffocate local street traders and I don't think that is necessarily what the Olympic sponsors are looking for.

'The public do get it. They do understand that Coca-Cola has paid, Pepsi hasn't, so Coca-Cola should be entitled to provide the soft drinks. But what's that got to do with a flaming torch baguette in a café?'

Mr Payne was behind revolutionary sponsorship deals that he claims saved the Olympic Games from dying out in the 1980s.

Mr Payne's comments were echoed by London Mayor Boris Johnson, who warned against 'insanity' when it came to policing usage of the five interlocking rings.

Draconian: A florist in Stoke-on-Trent was ordered to take down this Olympic-themed window display after being warned she was breaching copyright laws

'There are things we have done really well,' he insisted, referring to praise he had received from athletes and the international media about the facilities built for London 2012.

In an interview on Radio 4's Today programme yesterday, Lord Coe defended the Games organisers from claims that there had been a heavy-handed approach to protecting sponsors' rights.

Today presenter Evan Davis asked Lord Coe whether he would be allowed to turn up to an event in a Pepsi T-shirt.

Lord Coes said: 'No, you probably wouldn't be walking in with a Pepsi T-shirt because Coca-Cola are our sponsors and they have put millions of pounds into this project but also millions of pounds into grassroots sport. It is important to protect those sponsors.'

Hours after his interview on Today, Locog said Olympic ticket-holders would be 'free to wear the clothing of their choice' inside Games venues, despite his earlier comment.


Pride: The bagels were put up ahead of the Olympic torch relay, which will pass by at the weekend

The run up to the London Games has seen organisers coming down hard on anyone they deem to be breaching the strict brand protection rules.

Last week a cafe manager in Camberwell, south London was raided by 'community wardens' after he displayed five bagels in the style of the Olympics rings in his window.

Two 'community wardens' swooped on the House Cafe and Gallery, in Camberwell, within 20 minutes of manager David Adams putting up the display.

They claimed that putting the circular buns on show breached copyright rules.

One customer said: 'They were being quite aggressive to David, ordering him to take them down immediately and threatening him with court and fines. They said there would be very serious consequences if he did not obey them.

'It was just some bread hanging in a window, for goodness sake! When a few customers such as myself started telling them off for being silly, they began taking pictures of us on their camera, which I found sinister.'

In May a florist from Stoke-on-Trent was ordered to take down a tissue paper window display of the rings she had put up to mark the the Olympic torch relay due passing through her town.

Trading standards officials warned her that the rings constituted an 'unauthorised use' of the Olympic logo and left her at risk of being sued by Games organisers.

Lisa Cross, 33, said at the time: 'The trading standards officers said they really loved the display, but told us we'd have to take it down or we could be sued.

'We've only been running the shop for 16 months. I couldn't fight it against them, they are a big organisation. I'm trying to grow my business, not ruin it.'

'I had no idea I was breaking any rules. I just wanted to support Team GB and the Olympics.'

A spokesman for Games organiser Locog said: 'Wherever Locog or trading standards officers see unauthorised use of the word "Olympics" or registered trademarks, we will take the time to explain to the business owner why they cannot do that.'

He added: 'In general we will pursue a course of education, rather than litigation.

Last year Kamel Kichane, manager of Cafe Olympic in Stratford was forced to change the name of his business to Cafe Lympic after being warned he could face legal action over the use of the word.

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