The photos above were all taken within a mile or two of the Olympic stadium by Martyn Routledge. His photographs of mock-Olympic businesses form the core of a new book, Olympics: A snapshot history of the Olympic Games (priced £8.99 with £1 going towards prostate cancer charity). Says Routledge: "Lord Coe wanted a legacy, well he certainly has one already, but its probably not what he had in mind!"
By jumping on the 2012 bandwagon, these local traders can probably expect some attention from the Olympic brand-protection police. The London 2012 website is very clear on naming rights:
Can I register a company name that includes the words 'Olympic' or 'London 2012'?
No...these are extremely valuable assets and, as such, LOCOG must ensure they are only used by official partners, sponsors, suppliers and licensees. Additionally, including these words in a company’s name could lead the public to wrongly believe that the company is in some way connected to London 2012 or to the Olympic or Paralympic Movements in general.
Just so it's clear, Olympic Hand Car Wash is not the official car cleaning service for the games.
Most of the businesses snapped by Routledge have sprung up since the 2005 announcement of the 2012 games, but not all. "Some of these ‘Olympics’ have been around for decades," says Routledge. "Little Chef have been serving up their ‘Olympic Breakfast’ for over 20 years, some may be using the name to suggest their Greek origins, and a natural link to the Olympics (Greek national airline Olympic Airlines has been around since the 1950s). Some may be using the word because it simply conjures up images of strength and athleticism rather than trying to associate themselves with the Olympic Games."
The book catalogs dozens of examples of Olympic shops and cafes throughout the UK. As well as photographs, it also contains stories and anecdotes about the businesses and their potentially dodgy legal situation.
Are games organisers being overly protective of their brand? Or is their 'extremely valuable asset' genuinely tarnished by small companies borrowing the name? It's an interesting debate, and we'd love to hear your thoughts.