Hurdling the Olympic word police

Today, it’s exactly two years until the opening ceremony of the Olympics and the moment the eyes of the world turn towards London.

However, advertisers not officially associated with the Games will have to duck and dive to be able to cash in on this attention without alerting the Olympic word police. That’s because a law passed in 2006 forbids any combination of ‘2012’, ‘games’, ‘gold’, ‘silver’, ‘bronze’ and ‘London’ to be used by anyone but official sponsors of the event.

Sporting bodies have made it their business to protect their multi-million-investing sponsors from opportunistic encroachers since 1996. That was the year Nike irked official Olympic sportswear supplier Adidas by setting up their own tented village opposite the main stadium.

And you may have read about this year’s World Cup in South Africa being invaded by a posse of orange-clad women promoting Bavaria beer – to the reported fury of Fifa, who had an exclusive deal with Budweiser.

Protecting your corporate pitch is one thing. But staking claims on individual words? Is that a step too far? Write and let us know.

Meanwhile, if non-sponsors want to make the most of the global publicity in 2012, they’ll have to get creative. Grabbing some of the sport-watching spotlight without mentioning the main event will require contortions fit for an Olympic gymnast.

It looks like it’s not only the competing athletes who have just two years left to rise to the challenge.

The definitive guide to transforming the writing of individuals and teams