Covering Up Any Brand In Beijing That Hasn't Paid To Sponsor The Olympics
from the ip-insanity dept
The Olympics has threatened any non-sponsor advertiser from even mentioning the Olympics, banned people in the stands from wearing clothing that has the logos of competitors to sponsors and even insisted that its security technology choices would be limited to sponsors, even if others had better technology.
The latest, however, may be the most ridiculous. All over Beijing, the brands of non-sponsors are being covered up by Olympic officials so that no one thinks that faucet maker American Standard got a "free ride." Seriously. They're putting tape over the brand name on faucets. And on light switches. And the headphones used by reporters and many other places where perfectly normal brands might occur. They've even covered up the name of a major hotel in Beijing, because it's not an Olympic sponsor.
In media centers, dormitories and arena bathrooms, pieces of tape cover logos of fire extinguishers, light switches, thermostats, bedroom night tables, soap dispensers and urinals. The Taiden Industrial translation headsets in a large conference room have had their logos covered, as have the American Standard faucets in the bathrooms nearby, and the ThyssenKrupp escalators down the hall. Even the sign atop the InterContinental Beijing Beichen hotel, attached to the Main Press Center, has been obscured by an Olympic cloth wrap. InterContinental Hotels Group isn't an Olympic sponsor.Why? Well, the IOC claims that it's necessary:
The International Olympic Committee says that such "brand protection" is essential for the Games to raise the corporate money that keeps them going and growing. The Games get 40% of their revenue from sponsors, with the rest coming from broadcast rights, ticketing and licensing.A few quick responses to that whopper of a statement:
- The purpose of trademark law is not to protect the ability of the Olympics to make a profit. It's to avoid people being confused into thinking one product is made by someone else.
- Even if it's important for the Olympics to make money off of sponsors, it's difficult to see why that would necessitate blocking everyone else's brands. No other event does this, and those events make out just fine.
- Couldn't some of the covered up brands make the exact same response back? American Standard sold its faucets at a certain price, knowing that it would get some brand recognition from having its brand on the faucets. By blocking that, aren't the Olympics denying American Standard's "essential brand protection" that it needs to keep making money?