Londoners complain about 'brand police'

Londoners are frustrated by strict corporate branding policies of the Olympics, as the government insists the commercial rights of sponsors will be protected.

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APPLE is the only brand larger than the Olympics, according to a study which also found that the global sporting event is so big that it dwarfs the likes of Coca-Cola, Samsung, GE and McDonald's, all of which have paid $US90 million ($87 million) apiece to be sponsors.

At $US70 billion ($67 billion) Apple's brand is the world's most valuable by a comfortable margin, according to a study by consultants Brand Finance.

It shows that the Olympics is still a sporting event that is not dominated by one individual sponsor. That the event itself is bigger than the brands that support it, I think that's a good thing in this day and age 

The Olympics is the second most valuable brand at $45 billion, roughly 134 times larger than the National Bank of Greece's assets.

The Olympic Stadium in London ... the Olympics brand is the world's second most valuable.

The Olympic Stadium in London ... the Olympics brand is the world's second most valuable. Photo: AFP

The study also says that despite the slowdown in the global economy, the Olympics brand had rocketed 87 per cent in value since the Beijing games, off the back of a rise in broadcast rights.

David Haigh, chief executive of Brand Finance, said that broadcast rights, which bring in $3.6 billion to the International Olympic Committee, were driving up the overall value and that as more Indians and Chinese get televisions, that figure is likely to rise even further.

"Given that Asia only represents about 15 per cent of the total value of broadcast rights, I would expect that figure to rise quite considerably as more people in Asia come on stream." Currently the US alone contributes half of the broadcast dollars.

Andy Pontin, the chief executive of ad agency Clemenger BBDO, said it was remarkable that given the Olympics is only every four years its brand has greater "resilience and saliency" than the products and services that we buy every day.

He added that it was a bonus that the Olympics brand was larger than the sponsors. "It shows that the Olympics is still a sporting event that is not dominated by one individual sponsor. That the event itself is bigger than the brands that support it, I think that's a good thing in this day and age."

Yet there is another reason why the Olympics is so valuable - it protects its brand vigorously, a characteristic that it shares with Apple, which takes companies that it believes are infringing its copyright to court.

Among other factors Brand Finance takes into account are how well a brand can protect its trademarks when calculating its value, along with the health of the balance sheet and its emotional connection with consumers. Organisers of the London Games were required to pass legislation to make it a criminal offence to breach Olympic trademarks.

In recent months, the local organisers have been criticised for enforcing sponsorship advertising rules after a butcher near the Olympic sailing venue in Weymouth on the English south coast was asked to remove a sign displaying a ring of sausages and saying, "fantastic 2012", and a cafe on the torch relay route was asked to stop advertising its "flaming torch breakfast baguette".

The London-based Mr Haigh said that the heavy handed approach had backfired.

"I think we can safely say that they have not done a very good job on their PR."