Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

  When giving evidence to the Select Committee on 25 October, I undertook to write to clarify a point about the Olympics Bill and the extent to which it will restrict ambush marketing.

  I was asked whether pubs would still be able to advertise the fact that they will show television coverage of Olympic events. I can confirm that they will. Following discussion with the advertising industry over the summer, the Government amended the Bill in its Commons Committee stage in order to provide comfort and clarity to businesses in these sorts of situations. As amended, the Bill makes clear that where a company makes a statement which accords with "honest practices in industrial or commercial matters," it will never be infringing any Olympic rights—even where such a statement creates a direct association with the London Games. Any company will be allowed to refer to its line of business without any fear of challenge.

  If, however, a company makes a statement where the association with the Olympics is clearly gratuitous, and the reference is irrelevant, that will be an infringement. Were a pub to move beyond advertising its television coverage to brand itself more explicitly as a London 2012 sponsor or supporter, without acquiring authorisation from LOCOG, it could be caught. However, I should stress that much will depend on the context of any individual advert. LOCOG will make judgements on a case by case basis, as will the Courts if and when any legal action is taken.

29 October 2005

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