London organisers and the International Olympic Committee are policing everything from dogs to body paint in an effort to protect their 53 sponsors and Olympic partners from unauthorised advertising.
Ad agencies say the move is to enforce the strictest rules they've seen for any event. London 2012 has raised about £1.4 billion ($ 2.2 billion) from sponsors including Coca-Cola. Businesses that didn't pay as much as £100 million required for a top-tier sponsorship, according to consulting firm Deloitte, are having a hard time finding ways to associate themselves with the Olympics without provoking officials.
Merely combining the words 'games' or '2012' with other words including London, summer, sponsors, medals, gold, silver or bronze would breach the rules, which carry fines of as much as £20,000. Non-sponsors also can't refer to athletic images, mottos and logos, including the Olympic rings and mascots, said Adam Glass, a partner at British law firm Davenport Lyons, who advises retailers on advertising around the Olympics.
"It's quite draconian," Glass said. Small businesses such as Caribbean Scene, with three restaurants near the cycling venue in east London, do not have as many options. During the Games, Patrick Marche won't be allowed to hand out flyers opposite one restaurant because it borders on the 200-hectare Olympic Park.