Surbiton store's cunning ploy to sidestep corporate Olympic killjoys
A retailer banned from using the Olympics logo believes he has come up with a cunning ploy to sidestep the rules on advertising.
Stephen Holt, 59, wanted to use the Games logo on the window of his Surbiton clothing store Men’s Hire to get behind Team GB medal hopefuls but was turned down by organiser Locog.
Locog said they ban all brands and retailers from using the Olympic logo in order to protect official sponsors such as Coca Cola and McDonalds.
But instead of giving in the shop owner changed the order of letters and used squares instead of the copyrighted circles, bypassing Games endorsement rules.
Now instead of reading London 2012 Olympics his shop window dressing reads Lodnon 2102 Oimplycs, something he said most customers don’t even notice.
Mr Holt said he got the idea from an email he was sent a few years ago which was still legible despite the words being jumbled up.
He said: “We phoned Locog six or seven months ago to ask them if there was anything we can do to get behind the athletes at the Games.
“The marketing department told us that we could not use the rings, we couldn’t say Olympics, we couldn’t say the Games or even London or 2012. Basically anything that is associated with the Olympics.
"Since we put up the sign it has become very pouplar with school kids having their picture taken outside.
"On the other hand a lot of people walking past don’t even notice. It would seem most people only register the first and last letter when deciphering a word.
"Other who do cotton on to what we are doing often come in for a chat and ask me about it.
"It is all a bit of fun. Hopefully they will have better things to worry about than a small business in Surbiton. They certainly should.”
A supporter of Mr Holt said on Twitter: “Getting around the Olympic brand police at the expense of the pedants. Shop in Surbiton."