The Truth About The Branding Of The Games
Visa has defended its exclusive Olympic sponsorship which means other cardholders will be denied access to cash machines at Games venues.
In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Visa's chief marketing officer in Europe, Mariano Dima, said: "If the sponsors are not there to support the Games, the money will have to come from local funding, or there will be a much smaller Games."
The only method of buying Olympic tickets is by Visa card, but Mr Dima denied that the Olympics' official partner had created a negative image for themselves with a heavy handed approach.
"We want to drive more transactions through a Visa card," he said.
"That's why we sponsor this, and that's why we can afford to drive this sponsorship.
"There are tens of thousands of ATMs around London that people can take money from in any part of London before coming to the Olympic Park."
Sky News asked a company which monitors social media to find out how Visa had ended up paying millions of pounds only to achieve negative publicity.
But Brandwatch discovered that only 25% of online comment about the brand was negative, compared to 28% which was positive. The rest were neutral.
Brandwatch put that down to Visa having a strong presence on social media sites such as Facebook, and because many people did not think having Visa only cash machines would be an inconvenience.
By contrast, Brandwatch found that other Olympic sponsors had a much more negative image.
The chemical company Dow helped pay for the plastic wrap which envelops the Olympic Stadium, but for many people the company is inextricably linked with the Bhopal gas accident in India in 1984.
According to Brandwatch, 92% of sentiment online relating to Dow was negative, while the Dutch brewer Heineken had an 81% negative score.
Brandwatch's Gareth Ham said: "We've seen a lot of conversations about the perception of raised pricing due to this perceived monopoly that Heineken will have.
"A lot of tweeters, for example, seem to be complaining that they would like to see a British brand as the beer provider for the Olympic Games."
The rules on sponsorship have prompted both anger and derision.
McDonalds is the only food provider to be allowed to sell chips at Olympic sites, unless they're sold with fish - dispensation was given because it's the national dish.
Venues which normally host other sporting events and were not built specifically for the Games have had to be "debranded", with all traces of rival companies removed or covered up.
Sky News filmed at the Ricoh Arena, which has had to be renamed The City of Coventry stadium for the Olympics.
The Japanese electronics firm has a long-term naming-rights deal at the stadium, but all of its logos have been erased.
Black seats which spell out the Ricoh name in the main stand have been covered up, and masking tape has been stuck over beer and soft drinks signs in the concourse where food and drink is sold.
Black tape has even covered up the soap dispensers in the toilets.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) raised £700m from sponsors.
Sir John Armitt, chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, told Sky News: "If you didn't have that £700m it would have to come from somewhere else, probably the taxpayer.
"It is very important to get this very significant sponsorship from big companies, but when they're putting in that amount of money, quite rightly they want something in return.
"They want that association with the brand."
Companies also want to stop commercial rivals attempting to cash in on the popularity of the Olympics, so legislation was introduced to ban unauthorised use of combinations of words which could lead the public to conclude that firms were connected with the Games.
'London', '2012', 'Summer', 'Gold', 'Silver' and 'Bronze' are among those defined as being protected.
And since 1995 there has been legislation to protect the Olympic logo.
Paul Jordan, a lawyer that advises companies on the regulations, said: "In many respects there isn't a more iconic, high-profile brand or trademark on the planet and therefore you can see why LOCOG are being particularly tough and threatening enforcement when it comes to the rings."
But threats, and the perception of a heavy handed approach, has drawn criticism from those who just want to get into the Olympic spirit - especially businesses along the route of the torch relay.
And even ordinary members of the public have felt threatened by the rules.
Muriel Butler, 90, knitted a set of athletes, complete with the Olympic ring, and planned to put them on display in a craft shop in the Norfolk town of Fakenham, before raffling them for charity.
But after friends heard about the strict rules, they decided to cover up the display when the torch relay arrived in the town.
Muriel was bemused: "That seemed ridiculous to me really. Never mind, I suppose that's what they want."
"I just don't understand why they cut things out like that. I wish I'd never started the things."
Her daughter, Jill Baker-Toplis, was angry. "I thought it was absolutely disgraceful.
"We're all worried here that we're going to get sued because we've got Olympics mentioned in the window."
In fact, LOCOG has not prosecuted anyone for breaching the rules. And some observers think their pre-Games warnings were designed to deter anyone, without having to take court action.
But trading standards officers have used consumer protection laws to prosecute those selling fake Olympic goods.
The sponsors don't get everything their own way.
None of them are allowed to advertise around the perimeter of venues, which means that the only brand seen by TV cameras and hundreds of millions of viewers is the Olympic logo.
Visa's Mr Dima added: "The sponsors are working behind the scenes and building the infrastructure to enable the athletes and the rings to be the heroes.
"And that's why the Olympics is so attractive. You don't need to put the logo in every place - the focus is the athletes and the spirit of the games."
what do you think?
It wqouldn't inconvenience me since I have a Visa debit card, but I still believe that it is wrong as many people will be badly inconvienced. This should not have been allowed. The Olympic Games have clearly lost their original ethos and have become a chance to rip off the public, the taxpayer and anyone who attends any of the events.
Visa's chief marketing officer in Europe, Mariano Dima, said "........or there will be a much smaller Games." In those last eight words of the statement we at long last have the answer !!
It just gets better and better. I heard on the radio that a parade of children for the opening ceremony were told that they can only wear Adidas trainers in the Olympic stadium other wise they have to wear plain black shoes with their 2012 tracksuits. All that will happen is these kids parents will go out and pay stupid amounts of money on Adidas trainers. Also Adidas have said that during award ceremonies that the athletes can only wear their trainers even if they are sponsored by a rival company. This massive corporate cloak is causing a huge shadow to block out what the Olympics used to stand for.
Im sure the athletes are gonna take notice aswell. wot a crock of.
Chris .It is many many years since the original Olympic ideal was submerged in a welter of back handers, rip offs and corporate skullduggery.
In which case Adidas as a sponsor should supply trainers free of charge.
the sooner all this over hyped rubbish is over with the better. I'ts obvious the general public couldn't care less about the games by the number of unsold tickets there are.
Why is UPS the olympics official logistics carrier an American company, when we have our own national carrier Royal Mail who should have been awarded the honour
Ups are useless. They had to deliver overnight some materials to a local wholesalers that were needed urgently. Instead of delivering them to C.E.F. they delivered them to screwfix the other side of town. So god knows where the canoes,cycles and archery equipment is going to turn up. Lisbon perhaps
I don't think you understand this "Sponsor" thingy. UPS have paid to fund this jolly Olympic sized embarrasment, they have bought and paid for the "honour".
Royal Mail would only sponsor after midday...
Frankly the more sponsers put their hands in their own pockets and not mine, the happier I am.
It's all about Dosh folks, Why not boycott the whole sordid spectacle and teach the money men a lesson they won't forget??
My hubby says it is quite possible that he may be wearing M&S socks/boxers if he watches any of this farce of a games on tv - are they approved or what or is he in for a boll ocking ? ......come on LOCOG we need clear some guidance here !
So a lot pf people won't be able to spend at the Olympics. Only in the UK!
Will SMA and st ivel have to change the names of their GOLD products what about the film 2012 will that have to be re written to be about a tale of london Olympic glory ? I can't believe that "summer" is owned by locog is that why we've had none yet this year because they control it? And now have they started cloud dusting to prevent rain from ruining this massive pile of dog todd!
I wish someone would give me a ticket for the olympic games. I would enjoy so much just tearing it up
All this for what is essentuially an glorified school sports day. The last statement is really the biggest crock i've ever heard. The sponsors, by being so militant in their control over what people can say/do/think, have pulled the focus away from the athletes and put it on themselves in a negative way. I`m amazed people are accepting this stuff with nothing more than a whimper.
I think it's disgusting. Just the other day, I was readin' 'bout McDonalds monopolising all the chip sales, telling everyone else to sell only chips with fish, now this! Imagine all the people who travel from around the World, arrive in London, go to the Olympic Games then, "I'm sorry, you're card is not accepted here." "What? I had no trouble back home in America! I ain't comin' here ever again!" Yeah. What effect will it all have on tourism?
All sponsors of the Olympic Games have been given tax breaks in the UK in return. A campaign is under way to encourage sponsors not to take up these tax breaks. About 5 out of 14 sponsors have given written assurances they will not take up these tax breaks, I think Barclays has not given this assurance yet. They get tax breaks we get tighter belts.
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Sponsors don't do it for the benefit of the Olympic movement, it is purely to make money in any shape or form. If the London games turn out to be a shambles watch the sponsors bail out like Sh you know what off a stick
The Olympics sounds like a monster! How dare they insist that surrounding buildings remove their advertising? If they have paid for it and it's within probably ridiculous planning regulations, then they should leave it up. Being forced to stop selling chips, too, is just preposterous! Does Ronald McDonald have a patent for these? My name was put into a draw for free tickets to the Olympics at work and was drawn. Alas, it was for an event in London. I had hoped for the USA v South Korea footie, away from the city. I said they could re-draw it and some poor kid from Year 7 was drawn. I feel quite mean! Ha ha ha.
Why oh why are peole so negative abouthis great sporting event. OK you might not like sport very much and there have been a couple of slkip ups on the way but the Olympics are still the biggest world event every 4 years. Insted of being typical whinging poms we should all be proud that we are hosting this event, that the stadia and athletes accommodation are complete and that we have the finest military personnel in the world on security duty. No I don't have any vested interest, or a ticket. If the sponsors weren't paying we the tax payers would be. That is the world we live in. What will have teh world laughing at us is the silky, wanting it to go wrong, Brit act.