Leicestershire store JJ’s Lingerie has been forced to take down an elaborate Olympic display after Trading Standards ruled that it breached rules prohibiting the use of the Games interlocking rings logo.
Owner Julie Swayne created the display out of racquets, footballs and five hoola hoops in the Olympic colours.
After being warned that she would not be allowed to put up interlocking rings, due to the strict rules governing commercial use of the Olympic symbol, she interspersed them in between mannequins wearing sports bra’s from brands such as Shock Absorber and Panache.
However, the display was removed just before the Olympic torch relay practice run passed through the town of Melton Mowbray.
Swayne told Lingerie Insight: “We spent quite a lot of time putting it up. We spent all day Thursday doing it. Trading Standards came on Friday…
“We were advised not to do them interlocking. They weren’t interlocking or anything, but trading standards still made us take them down… Even though they weren’t interlocking, they thought that people would look in the window and perceive them as interlocking.”
Companies have been warned of the strict rules set up by the Olympic organisation to protect event sponsors.
The five interlocking rings of the Olympic symbol is a registered mark, which is protected under the Olympic Symbol etc (Protection) Act 1995.
Intimate apparel brands have been forced to find creative ways to get around using the Olympic logo and name, the use of which could lead to an unlimited fine.
Many have used the event and the upcoming Queen’s Diamond Jubilee as the basis for new ‘patriotic’ ranges in shades of red, white and blue.
There are mixed feeling in the industry regarding the stringent rules.
Berlei and Gossard managing director Tony Jarvis told Lingerie Insight: “There has been some highly effective guerrilla marketing at past Olympics. At the end of the day, the Olympics is also a commercial entity and there needs to be tough controls to protect the brands that pay for their sponsorship rights.”
Puma spokesperson Jack Gordon said: “We feel that it is too strict, because it reduces our ability to describe the games in our written communications.”