Negative press can be a power for good, it seems.

Olympic sponsors Visa, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, EDF, Omega, GE, Adidas, BMW, Atos and P&G were all stung by the revelations that they were benefitting from a grubby deal with our customs and excise enforcers, courtesy of the sponsor’s good friends Lord Coe and Co, that they would be able to enjoy some lucrative tax avoidance on their donations, this paid for by the British tax-payer.

Shortly after an article, “The Great Olympic Tax Swindle” appeared in the July/August issue of Ethical Consumer magazine, and the publication organised an online petition signed by 225,000 taxpayers censuring the above firms for their lack of ethics and corporate social responsibility, the firms caved in and have all promised to waive their right to the tax avoidance offered, a promise that Ethical Consumer magazine will be checking they have all kept, next April when the companies release their annual financial reports. Continue reading


Those who feel strongly that monopolies are bad for customers, and bad for the image of marketing – and witness the shameful licensed exploitation of millions of Olympic fans by Visa, McDonalds et al, courtesy of wimpy Lord Coe and his team – will be cheered by a recent legal ruling against the powerful football Premier League.

To protect its sale of very lucrative broadcasting rights the bullying League funded a legal action, brought by their puppets at Brent and Harrow trading standards services against a Wembley man, Helidon Vuciterni, accused of importing Albanian satellite decoder cards which allow Premier League matches to be watched at monopoly-free prices, thus potentially saving football-fan customers hundreds of pounds.

Fortunately for fairness the judge was not as beholden to the Premier League as the trading standards poodles, and said so, pointing out that the poodles rendered the warrants against Vuciterni unlawful because they did not disclose a European Court of Justice opinion that our national laws prohibiting the sale of the money-saving cards were contrary to the freedom to provide services.

One would have thought trading standards officers and their puppet-masters at the Premier League would have known that, wouldn’t one?


The clear winners of our upcoming Olympic Games are the corporate sponsors, many inappropriate for the stated mission of the event, which is to promote world peace and understanding and celebrate the best and brightest of human achievements.

This is the view of Ethical Consumer magazine which devoted much of its July /August issue to pointing out that sponsors such as BP, Rio Tinto and Dow seem to be in it for the greenwash PR opportunities to clean up their tarnished image in respect of the environment. Others are known to be enjoying some lucrative tax avoidance, courtesy of a pathetic British government terrified that the business might have gone elsewhere, and paid for by all their long-suffering and ordinary taxpayers. Continue reading


One important issue covered recently by Ethical Consumer magazine was that of charities accepting sponsorship money and other support from arguably inappropriate sources.

Cited were examples such as the acceptance of money from Sainsbury’s, which markets a breast milk substitute, by the National Childbirth Trust in 1997, a decision that caused 70 of the trust’s breastfeeding counsellors to quit in disgust and set up their own Breastfeeding Network. Also featured was the National Obesity Forum, which more recently pocketed £50,000 from Coca Cola, despite criticising the government for accepting money from junk food firms to pay for public health campaigns. Continue reading


Full marks to Ken Livingstone for revealing that the official signing of the host city contract for next year’s London Olympics by Sebastian Coe and the IOC was just an empty stunt to maximise press coverage – the contract had already been signed the night before.(Evening Standard)

In his book, You Can’t Say That, Livingstone reveals that it was the habit of some cities offered the games, especially New York, to try to wriggle out of promises made before agreeing to sign contracts. All five cities in the running were forced to sign their contracts the night before the vote and the winning city, in this case London signed a copy of their contract the next day for the world’s media.

Both Jacqes Rogge of the Olympic Committee and our own Seb Coe should, we feel, receive Oscars for their acting performances.


Good to note that the organisers of our 2012 Olympics are promoting to the world our growing reputation for top quality cuisine in their choice of main caterer for the Olympic Park, gourmet food specialists McDonalds.

Sadly this carefully considered choice, rightly based independently on the large sum of money the firm put up for sponsorship, has not gone down well with some who claim that the association of McD’s healthy cordon bleu cooking with sport is, er, unhealthy and sends the wrong message to our children.

As if.


Some light has been shed, by the Daily Telegraph, on why credit card firm Visa might have been so keen to become the official card for the Olympics, courtesy of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, LOCOG.

Fans purchasing tickets have been ordering far more than they can afford, on the basis that they will only get a small fraction of them, and that they will be able to sell their unwanted tickets on the LOCOG resale website. What however has only just sunk in with those using their Visa credit card is that if they are unable to pay for all the tickets in full in June when the Visa bill is due they will have to pay Visa rates of interest until the resale website is up and running, which LOCOG say will not be until sometime next year. Continue reading


The delightful Olympic sport of ambush marketing is under threat again as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) seeks to protect those who give large sums of money to sponsor the 2012 sporting fixture from those who didn’t. (Marketing)

The IOC’s wishes are being implemented by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which leaves out the Paralympics in its LOCOG abbreviation, and which will be monitoring the marketing of non-sponsor companies to detect possible secret ambush plans, though quite how it will do this is not known. (going through corporate dustbins, phone-tapping, employing corporate moles, sending in prostitutes of both genders to pick up pillow-talk, paying corporate whistle-blowers, intercepting mail and emails?) Continue reading