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Olympics Can't Hire Enough Actual Security, But Fully Staffed With 'Brand Police'

from the that'll-work dept

We've talked about how the Olympics are so focused on hiding any non-sponsor brand that they had officials in Beijing during the last Olympics tape over bathroom fixtures from non-sponsoring companies. And it was clear that this same sort of activity was set to continue this time around in London, including a specific law against "ambush marketing."

You may have heard the reports in London about the terrible security for the London Olympics that has left things in "absolute chaos," due to a failure to hire enough security personnel. In fact, there's talk of soldiers having to be called in to help. Given all that, it's interesting to find out that the Olympics do have a fully-staffed "brand police" force, which is heading around the city to carefully block any non-sponsor brands, and try to track down and kill off any kind of unpaid-for marketing.
Almost 300 enforcement officers will be seen across the country checking firms to ensure they are not staging "ambush marketing" or illegally associating themselves with the Games at the expense of official sponsors such as Adidas, McDonald's, Coca-Cola and BP....

Wearing purple caps and tops, the experts in trading and advertising working for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) are heading the biggest brand protection operation staged in the UK. Under legislation specially introduced for the London Games, they have the right to enter shops and offices and bring court action with fines of up to £20,000.
So, if a terrorist attack happens to hit London over the next few weeks, at least we'll know that it wasn't sponsored by some non-paying brand.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 3:59pm

    Chips

    There was a funny story on NPR about how since McDonalds is the official heart attack provider for the Olympics, only McDonald's french fries (chips) are allowed to be served at the Olympic sites. But the exception is if you're buying fish and chips. So, you can't sell chips, unless you have some fish in there as well.

     

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  2.  
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    Sam, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:07pm

    They have some 13,500 military personnel on security duty anyway - they're talking about cancelling leave and bringing in *more* to make up the G4S shortfall. The last few news stories have talked about bringing in more police officers from other forces instead, though, so I don't know if the extra military are still being brought in.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:13pm

    Personally, I won't buy from any sponsor until the games are over. Spirit of peace and goodwill my ass.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:16pm

    All the King's horses and all the King's men [Re: ]

    They have some 13,500 military personnel on security duty anyway


    And with all the King's horses and all the King's men... ...they still can't patrol the LIBOR.

     

    ( That's a laughable complaint, you say? The military brutes could not possibly be educated enough to understand high finance! )

     

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  5.  
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    Tunnen (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:18pm

    This bombing was brought to you by al-Qaeda, the official terrorist of 2012 Olympic Games... =P

     

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  6.  
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    arcan, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:20pm

    Re: All the King's horses and all the King's men [Re: ]

    hell even the grunts are smarter than the olympic committee

     

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  7.  
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    Tunnen (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:21pm

    Re: Chips

    Perhaps that's why McDonalds is able to sell their fries as well. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some fish by-product mixed in with what they claim is potato. =P

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:37pm

    Re:

    And Allah brand underwear bombs, the official explosives of the 2012 olypic games

     

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  9.  
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    PRMan, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:40pm

    Sounds like...

    Sounds like the terrorists just need to show up in purple hats and shirts and they can plant bombs in businesses with no oversight...

     

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  10.  
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    Tunnen (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:43pm

    Re: Re:

    Also the Zebra Flu, the official pandemic of the 2012 Olympic Games.

     

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  11.  
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    SolkeshNaranek (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Re: Chips

    It's all Soylent Green.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:45pm

    London just keeps on falling and falling...

     

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  13.  
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    Tunnen (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:47pm

    Re:

    Perhaps it's just being dragged down with the bridge?

    =P

     

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  14.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:50pm

    Re: Re:

    They already sold the bridge.

     

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  15.  
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    Nigel (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:53pm

    Who needs foot patrols...

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Sounds like...

    terrorists just need to show up in purple hats and shirts


    Yes. Well, dinging a small business with up to £20,000 damage is not the type of thing you can stop with a “a high-velocity missile lightweight multiple launcher during a media event”.

     


    ( See pic in linked article. )

     

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  17.  
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    Vidiot (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 4:54pm

    Re:

    If they weren't the OFFICIAL terrorists, they'd be thwarted by the Brand Police. Of whom there are apparently plenty.

     

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  18.  
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    ken (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 5:16pm

    Unauthorized Olympic memorabilia puts terror in the hearts of Olympic organizers. See they are out to stop terrorism.

     

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  19.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 5:22pm

    Re: Re: Chips

    they are able to sell theirs because they are the official sponsor.

     

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  20.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 5:24pm

    Re: Re:

    so what you are saying is that they need to designate an official terrorist organization and then they would be 100% set security-wise!

     

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  21.  
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    Someone Special, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 6:09pm

    Who's Responsible?

    Who's responsible for the security at the Olympics? The hosting city or the people running the Olympics?

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 6:31pm

    Re: Who's Responsible?

    Who's responsible for the security at the Olympics? The hosting city or the people running the Olympics?


    This 2007 reference, “Changing Homeland Security: A Strategic Logic of Special Event Security” by Christopher Bellavita, indicates that security responsibility is assigned to the host country.

    Typically, there is little guidance about what the public safety mission is for a large-scale event. For example, here, in its entirety, is the security portion of a contract between the International Olympic Committee (the group that awards a city the rights to hold the Olympics) and a recent host Olympic city:
    Responsibility for all aspects of security is a matter to be dealt with by the appropriate authorities of the Host Country. The City and the NOC [National Olympic Committee] undertake that all appropriate and necessary security measures shall be taken accordingly.

    That is all. With little formal guidance — even for an event as large and complex as an Olympics — public safety officials often have to craft their own mission. Effectively, they have three choices in determining what constitutes “all appropriate and necessary security measures”:


    Although that reference is a little dated, recent articles in the BBC indicates that 2012 London security responsibility is with the UK Home Office.

     

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  23.  
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    abc gum, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 6:42pm

    Seems a waste having the military provide security for the (redacted), don't they have a sovereign nation to invade or something?

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 6:44pm

    Re: Who needs foot patrols...

    "During the Games, they will be controlled around the clock by 10 unarmed soldiers, who might be guarded by armed police."


    If they have an entire missile battery at their disposal, are they really "unarmed?"

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Re: Who's Responsible?

    Although that reference is a little dated, recent articles in the BBC indicates that 2012 London security responsibility is with the UK Home Office.


    Following up, here's something a bit more authoritative from the homeoffice.gov.uk website:

    Securing the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games
    The Home Office is responsible for ensuring the 2012 Olympic Games is safe and secure. Find out about our plans for Olympic security and other work to make the Games a success.

     

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  26.  
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    MichaelG, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 7:22pm

    Fun things to do at the Olympics

    1. Make a stamp of a non-approved brand logo. 2. Stamp the forehead of a purple brand enforcer. 3. Watch the others tackle him to the ground. 4. Run.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 7:23pm

    It's a funny story, except of course that...

    1) 300 isn't really what they are missing, it's more like thousands, and
    2) the "brand police" could be retired people, handicapped people, or what have you, with you physical requirements at all.

    So yeah, except for reality, your story is good. Too bad about reality.

     

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  28.  
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    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 7:56pm

    Re: Sounds like...

    They just have to make absolutely sure that there's no kind of brand marking on the bomb, in case it gets found.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 8:05pm

    crazy

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 8:22pm

    Re: Re:

    "And Allah brand bombs underwear, the official explosive garment of the 2012 olympic games"
    FTFY

     

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  31.  
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    orbitalinsertion (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 8:23pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No Unauthorized Terrorists Beyond This Point

     

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  32.  
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    orbitalinsertion (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 8:25pm

    Re: Sounds like...

    Any further regulation would be an undue burden on terrorists' ability to do business.

     

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  33.  
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    orbitalinsertion (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 8:26pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So, London may end up in Arizona as well?

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 8:37pm

    Re:

    For someone who doesn't live in reality, you sure claim to have vast insight into it.

     

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  35.  
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    orbitalinsertion (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:20pm

    Re: Fun things to do at the Olympics

    It goes a little something like this. Like to hear it? Here it goes:Purple.

     

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  36.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Give it time...

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:21pm

    Well there are some actions we can take to stop them from treating people like this. They're very obvious.. well too me at least.

    Make the sponsors pay for it is one way.. Stop buying their shit even if it's just for a day. If enough people did that the cost would add up very fast making them change their ways or lose money.

    Another obvious way is to not watch the Olympics. Myself I love the Olympics but I refuse to watch them. Same goes with movies and music.

     

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  38.  
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    orbitalinsertion (profile), Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:26pm

    Re:

    It is too bad about reality. The one they made provisions for, not the real one.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:28pm

    Re: Re:

    Wow, that was a deep, meaningful reply. Did you learn that in class today (third grade)?

     

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  40. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    viveth, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 9:35pm

    oly

    as Eddie implied I'm blown away that a person able to profit $7977 in four weeks on the internet. did you look at this site NUTTYRich dotcom

     

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  41.  
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    relghuar, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 11:09pm

    What's that "Olympics" thing?

    Please don't answer, I really don't want to know. I'd like to forget the word itself as well, but with it appearing even on Techdirt.... :-(
    I'd like to think if enough people actively forget that it exists, and will avoid anything to do with it, that could make them reconsider their stupidity.
    I'm not gonna hold my breath, though, stupidity is a pretty resilient and contagious virus.

     

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  42.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 12:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Wow, that was a deep, meaningful reply"

    Like your uncited claims backed with random assumptions that you then pretend are "reality" for no other reason than you say so?

    If you have information that's backed by evidence, cite it, else your claims are really no better. Try it, for once.

     

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  43.  
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    Duke (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 12:52am

    In fairness to the "brand police" issue, there are 300 of them, but the security shortfall was around 3,500 people, so it isn't as if those 300 could fill in the gap.

    Plus, brand protection is worth a lot of money to big companies (or so they believe), normal security is just about saving lives and protecting ordinary citizens from crime. It makes far more sense for a government to priorities the way it has; companies donate to Parties and politicians, people just get in the way by doing that pesky voting thing, and sometimes they have the nerve to vote for the other side.

     

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  44.  
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    99% of the UK, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 3:31am

    We're.
    So.
    Utterly.
    Embarrassed.

     

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  45.  
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    hfbs (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 4:25am

    Re:

    Seconded. While I can't comment on the state of things in the capital, I can tell you that down here in Weymouth (the sailing avenue), pretty much everyone thinks it's utter bollocks. The town's nowhere near suitable for the extra traffic predicted and people aren't terribly excited about having the whole of the main town centre (including vital roads) shut down or restricted.

    From what I read about the security detail down here, it's pretty bad too - some days have had a staff shortage of 60% and on the best days, they can only manage 85% of total. I haven't seen any security people around, but I'm told they're here. I suppose they'll be more obvious during the actual games, but I'm buggered if I'm going out then.. everywhere's going to be heaving. The only time I'll go out is to work and even then, my commute's blocked, so we've had had to do a complete shuffle round of routes and stuff.. Nightmare, I tell you.

     

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  46.  
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    Niall (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 4:28am

    Re: Re: Who needs foot patrols...

    Against your average East-End 'chib' (knife) - yes!

     

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  47.  
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    Niall (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 4:31am

    Re:

    Except that they have a full quota of them, so we know their priorities.

    They could draft those 300 into security, that's 8% or so of the shortfall filled instantly!

    But no, they'd rather go and turn this into even more of a publicity nightmare.

     

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  48.  
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    Niall (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 4:37am

    Re: Re:

    Same here in Glasgow, where we have some of the football. Everyone in Britain pretty well knows how much football is an effective religion in Scotland - and yet well over half the Olympic football tickets remain unsold. Other than a brief fillip for the torch coming through, no-one seems too impressed - I guess London 2012 is just 'another London-centric' event that is meaningless to us.

    Plus, living near the venue myself (Hampden) I'm not looking forward to the disruption either. I really pity the poor buggers in London.

     

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  49.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 4:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The only times I'm ever near London is when I go to a film festival in Leicester Square every August. Nobody I've talked to is particularly excited other than a few bits and pieces such as the torch coming through my home town 100+ miles away. Unless Team GB does exceptionally well, I think more people are going to be pissed off with it than actually enjoy it, at least locally. Nobody I know seems convinced that it will be anything other than an expensive disaster.

    Last year when I was there, we were just pissed off at all the works that meant that standing outside the cinema and nearby pub between screenings became almost impossible. Now, I'm just hoping it'll all be a distant memory before I go back there this year...

     

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  50.  
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    John Doe, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 5:15am

    How about a quiet protest?

    I think I will head on over t London and go behind the brand police and remove the tape over other brands. That way when people go to the restroom, they will think Royal Sloan Valve Company is an official sponsor.

     

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  51.  
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    abc gum, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 5:18am

    Re: Re: Who needs foot patrols...

    "The weapons are capable of shooting down aircraft and can counter "pop-up strikes" by helicopters, according to the MoD. During the Games, they will be controlled around the clock by 10 unarmed soldiers, who might be guarded by armed police."


    Unarmed ... might be guarded ... seriously?
    Wow. What could possibly go wrong?
    And if indeed the case, why would you publish the fact?

    Imagine this in the context of a Monty Python episode - lol

     

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  52.  
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    abc gum, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 5:25am

    How do they intend to fill the empty seats?
    Will attendance become mandatory?
    How do they make people look like they are enjoying the event?

     

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  53.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 5:33am

    Oh God, I can't wait to see this circus when it comes to Brazil. I'm already laughing in anticipation.

    Ahem. I wonder how much money they could save without this over aggressive strategy. I also wonder why recent Olympics hosts are facing some serious financial crisis now (Greece, Spain etc).

     

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  54.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 6:11am

    Re:

    Really? You think that the 1992 Barcelona Olympics had a direct impact on Spain's current financial crisis?

     

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  55.  
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    Someone Special, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 7:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Who's Responsible?

    Thanks for the information. It seems to me that if London is responsible for security, then it's not really fair to blame the Olympics for not being fully prepared.

    I think the idea of "brand police" is ridiculous, but it's disingenuous to imply that the Olympic organizers are hiring these people at the expense of regular security.

     

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  56.  
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    OC, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 7:05am

    If something like a terrorist attack happened I would not like to be the person responsible, having to explain why security was lacking in London while they had personel all over the country checking local bakeries and clothing stores.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Who's Responsible?

    ...it's disingenuous to imply that the Olympic organizers are hiring these people at the expense of regular security.


    It clearly indicates management priorities.

    At the top-most level, the government's agenda is revealed by its actions. When the “brand police” component is running smoothly and, in contrast, the G4S fiasco is hitting the news, well, that shows you what the ministers have been actually focused on.

    Similarly, but more broadly, the goverment's highly visible efforts to provide brand protection for corporate sponsors of the Olympic circus contrast markedly with their apathy in regulating the banksters.

     

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  58.  
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    Thomas (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 8:07am

    The Olympics

    are no longer about sports; it is all about businesses making money. "Brand Police" sounds silly; they obviously don't care about the physical security of the athletes; they only care about making money and intimidating businesses. It's typical of businesses today; the only thing they care about is money; they don't care about people being injured or killed.

    The chaos of the Olympics is a perfect opportunity for terrorists.

     

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  59.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 8:28am

    Banksy where are you?

     

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  60.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    At least we know they weren't made in America.

     

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  61.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 9:34am

    Re:

    "Attention! The beatings will continue until all empty seats are filled and everyone is enjoying the event!"

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 9:41am

    Considering the absolute difference in the amount *AND MOST IMPORTANTLY* type of personnel needed for security and for making sure someone isn't claiming to be a sponsor, the implication of this story is pure horseshit. They require a whole lot of security personnel. Bitching because they filled up 300 positions that require nothing more than a warm body but they couldn't fill, but couldn't come up with 11,000 more security personnel they were originally contracted for is just stupid.

    That said, the whole brand police thing once again makes me glad I don't watch the Olympics :)

    Also, whose friggin idea is it to place a missile battery there? And NOT have it guarded by ARMED soldiers? That's just asking for someone to move in, take it, and shoot down a news helicopter or something.

     

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  63.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 9:46am

    Re:

    Perhaps you misunderstood the OP. It isn't saying that those 300 brand police would otherwise have been security police, so your criticism is misplaced.

    I do think the OP misses the mark a bit in that the olympics committee isn't in charge of security. If you are looking for something to nitpick about the article, that would be a better approach.

     

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  64.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, that's probably overstating the case, but it is true that most of the time hosting the olympics is a net loss to the economy of the region that hosts it.

     

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  65.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 9:54am

    Re:

    the implication of this story is pure horseshit.


    The implication you saw in the article isn't the one I got from it, so YMMV, I guess.

    In my reading, the point is that the branding police (i.e., defending against the public) is a well-run machine while the security police (defending the public) is travesty -- thus revealing what is more important to the powers that be. I don't really agree with the comparison (even though I find the olympics abhorrent), but that's what I took from the OP.

     

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  66.  
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    Someone Special, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who's Responsible?

    My mistake then. I was under the impression that security for the Olympics was the responsibility of the host country while these "brand police" were being deployed by the Olympic Committee ( or whatever the governing body of the Olympics is).

     

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  67.  
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    nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 11:34am

    Re:

    Same here, years ago I made a personal commitment to avoid buying any brands that sponsor the Olympics. Not that I buy a lot of junk food or sports clothes but when I do, I make sure it's NOT an Olympic sponsor.

    Just doing my bit... One day I'd like to see being an Olympic sponsor something of a poison chalice linked to lost sales. Perhaps then the Trademark Marximalists will be kicked out.

    The Olympics is supposed to be about sporting achievements, not sponsorship achievements.

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who's Responsible?

    ...these "brand police" were being deployed by the Olympic Committee...


    Quoting from The Independent's article:
    Under legislation specially introduced for the London Games, they [the brand police] have the right to enter shops and offices and bring court action with fines of up to £20,000.


    I don't think that the London Olympic Committee has legislative powers—whether or not the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is clothed with the full authority of the state.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Someone Special, Jul 17th, 2012 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Who's Responsible?

    Yeah, then I have to agree with a lot of people who are calling this pretty draconian. The rationale that someone in one of the articles made that it's taking money away from the Olympics seems on par with Jamie Kellner of Turner who said that skipping commercials is stealing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 1:30pm

    > Under legislation specially introduced for the
    > London Games, they have the right to enter shops
    > and offices and bring court action with fines of
    > up to £20,000.

    If this is the kind nonsense the IOC now requires of countries who want to host, it'll be interesting to see what happens the next time the US wants to host an Olympics.

    We have a pesky and inconvenient Constitution and no matter how much the Congress may want to drop trou and bend over for the IOC, they can't just pass laws creating special 'Olympics exceptions' to the 1st Amendment and the 4th Amendment.

    If I own a home or a building which can be seen from an Olympic venue in the US, I have every right to allow Pepsi to put a sign in my window even if Coke is the 'official' sponsor, and they certainly can't legally give the cops the right to break into my private property and confiscate the sign or fine me for exercising my 1st Amendment rights.

    If this is what the IOC requires, then the US will never again be able to meet their requirements and can no longer be considered as a host for the games.

    And thank god for that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    icon
    Brent (profile), Jul 17th, 2012 @ 1:31pm

    Seriously, I cannot imagine how any business owner would support the Olympic Laws. I understand how the Olympics themselves could drive up business but unless the laws explicitly state what is allowed by the purple people in terms of "entering a store", i would never allow a purple hat in my business w/o a police escort. I envision this law granting full access to a business, as in back room, store room, main office, etc - EVERY part of a business (to check for marketing ambushes, of course). I would kick out a purple hat and call the police and allow them to enter only if the police stayed until they left.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2012 @ 3:15am

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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