Olympic logo cops enforce stupid rules with masking tape

Marilyn sez, "Olympic logo police workers are tasked with vigilantly going around all facilities and putting masking tape over the logos for any product where the company is not an official sponsor.

7 To ensure that only the companies that pay millions of dollars to be official Olympic sponsors enjoy the benefits of exposure in Olympic venues, organizers have covered the trademarks of nonsponsors with thousands of little swatches of tape.

In media centers, dormitories and arena bathrooms, pieces of tape cover logos of fire extinguishers, light switches, thermostats, bedroom night tables, soap dispensers and urinals. The Taiden Industrial translation headsets in a large conference room have had their logos covered, as have the American Standard faucets in the bathrooms nearby, and the ThyssenKrupp escalators down the hall.

At the Athens games, people wearing logoed t-shirts were asked to remove them or turn them inside-out before entering the stadia. Nothing says "incorruptible international competition" like a bunch of bullshit rules about what your t-shirt is allowed to say and whether an elevator can display its manufacturer's mark. Ignore That Logo Under the Tape! (Thanks, Marilyn!)


  1. Like most censorship, I would say this is counter productive. I know for me the un-tampered-with logos would have just disappeared into the white noise. But with a weird piece of tape over it, I’m more likely to check what is under the tape out of curiosity, thus imprinting the logo more forcefully into my conscious and subconscious memory.

  2. for its intended purpose, the tack seems pretty absurd, but i’m kind of with #2. isn’t this precisely the kind of thing those “adbusting” whippersnaps do to get their jollies?

  3. I personally like the precedent. I vote we all start covering logos of companies that aren’t paying us money…

  4. “We assign workers in [the Main Press Center] to check and replace tape that has been peeled off to make sure the tape still works every day”


    /in my mind, Benny Hill’s “Yakkity Sax” would be playing while they all run in fast forward.

  5. I think this is great because the next time I buy an elevator or a urinal for my home, I want to make sure that the company I buy from helps to improve the quality of amateur sport.

    Ha! Now that’s funny! (The Olympics aren’t amateur!)

  6. Ah but this is par for the course for the IOC they have never slept on their rights to their marks, all over the World.

  7. I’m with Imajication @ #3. A piece of tape covering a logo would stand out much more than some branding, which, by its already-ubiquitous nature, doesn’t make it past my brain filters. However, as someone who tries to eliminate all gratuitous branding from my life (and fails miserably), I can sympathize.

    The flipside of this is that—at least in the case of things like escalators, fire extinguishers and urinals—it could be argued that by virtue of being the brand for the product installed at a certain venue, American Standard, for example, is in effect, some sort of roundabout Olympic sponsor.

    Regardless: silly, silly party aparatchicks.

  8. I’m sure Adidas would have apreciated it if they had covered Li Ning in tape as he lit the flame during the opening ceremony..

  9. time for the underground to appropriate the rings. Let them become the de facto property of the graffiti taggers, the fringe groups, the butt of dirty in-jokes that go viral mainstream. With a little work, the rings will become such a joke along with the name that a little justice might be realized. They can’t enforce copyright on taggers with spray bombs and toilet stall scrawlers. Perhaps a movement to have one of the more pernicious stimulant drugs called “rings”? (crystal meth?)

  10. I have never fully understood why, but in video production logos are often covered up. You’ll often see tape over soda logos or sports team logos on caps etc. Anyone who has seen a music video or anything else on MTV in the last couple of decades would have noticed this. What evidence is there that the Olympics are not simply doing the same thing that MTV always does?

  11. haha, this is quite funny, i want to trademark my face so CCTV cameras would need my permission to film me. if i tried to enter the olympics, they would wrap me up like a mummy :D

  12. You should hand your disemvoweling technology over to the Chinese. They would make great use of it!

  13. Kds t Stvn [#4]. S, Hrr Dktrw, lt m gt ths strght:

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    mn, y gys ‘tpd vr’ Vlt Bl. Ws tht K?

    Dh, thr gs my ccnt.

    Srsly. Th Chns ‘dBst’ sm lgs nd y gys gt ppr cts n th Ncrnmcn. Hlrty nss.

  14. I want to draw Olympic rings on the tape. Does it get peeled off, or covered with more tape? Makes me think of Brazil (no, the movie, not the place). What if I draw the rings on other stuff? What if I draw them in really awkward places? How high? …so many games to play…

  15. Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” TV program has some sort of similar problems — though whether it’s his production company or Food Network is another question. Recipe ingredients in cans or boxes often have deliberately ludicrous alternate labels pasted over them, and I noticed that his Mac laptop has duct tape over the Apple logo.

  16. I vote we all start covering logos of companies that aren’t paying us money…

    but then… what happens when I scroll down?

  17. Marley #9: The rings are their corporate logo.

    I’m going to run around taping over every Olympic logo I see from now on. I encourage you to do the same.

    Do to the olympics what we did to santorum.

  18. What happens when someone designs, manufactures, sells, and provides to the next Olympic facilities some technology that absolutely does not work unless the corporate logo can see daylight and breathe oxygen?

    My technology is good enough for you to use, but you won’t give me attribution? Sounds like a job for the CC license.

  19. I agree with #22, there is absolutely nothing special about it.
    I myself once had to tape away logos from my computer and peripherals when i performed at a huge electronic music festival in germany. Same happened to the DJ setup (and everything else not made by samsung or sony).

  20. Just to clarify, what’s being taped over are the logos of companies who are not sponsors of the Olympics, but have their products at Olympic facilities anyway.

    It just seems so petty.

    “What kind of car do you drive?”

    “Well, I’d tell you, but I don’t want to give them any free advertising and they aren’t sponsoring me.”

    If I had a product that they were using I’d sponsor them by suggesting that they not pay someone to tape over my logo. They can keep the money they save on tape and labor and I can have my logo on display wherever my product is being used. I’d also point out that they could get unilateral “sponsorship” from everyone else by replicating the magical money making technique I just described for other products and add on the money they would’ve spent on printing lists of non-sponsors or compensating any sponsors who were accidentally taped over.

  21. This is actually part of an elaborate pump and dump scheme involving shares of the “Little Piece of Tape Manufacturing Company.”

  22. It would be worse to be “tape checker” (Drone 34879992EE) than “tape putter onner” (Drone 3479992ED).

  23. I gotta tell y’all, I peel, scrape or polish off the logos on nearly everything I buy.

    You want me to walk around wearing your advertisements, or display them to visitors in my home, you have to pay me the big bucks. Those are the rules, if you want to negotiate advertising with me you’ll have to do more than just sell me something with your name tattooed on it.

    It backfires sometimes, though – I polished all the text off my Sony Car Discman (now I’m really dating myself) and everybody always says “wow that looks cool what is it?” so I end up advertising Sony anyway, even though I do not like their corporate policies and no longer buy their products.

  24. i’m surprised they didn’t use masking tape on the little girl who sang at the opening ceremony instead of bringing out the “cuter” kid. ok, that’s mean.

  25. A good test of advertising. I wonder how many people leave the Olympic village with an urge to buy lots of masking tape?

  26. I’m a little confused about the folks saying this has anything to do with copyright.

    This has nothing to do with “protecting the copyright” of the companies being taped over. Nor has it anything to do with “protecting the trademark” either.

    It’s also not a case of OMGCHINESE censorship, or rewriting history, so anyone who tries to draw a parallel between disemvowleing or Violet Blue or whatever – you sound shrill and paranoid. It’s not the government, it’s the Olympic corporation, and anyways, if they’d yanked the items off the wall and replaced them all with Official Sponsor items, or scraped off the logos with exacto knives or something, I’d buy it.

    I don’t compare this to people using Adblock in their web-browsers, either. The equivalent would be regular citizens running around with sticky tape (or exacto knives), not the Olympic folks.

    It has everything to do with “These companies haven’t payed us, so we don’t want them to get free advertising.” I’m a little surprised at this being considered news, because it’s Standard Operating Procedure for most Media outlets. Unless the news here is that the Olympics are a huge ass corporate promotion for… the Olympics. At which point, I say “Duh. Where have you been for the last decade?”

  27. this is not censorship, it’s fair attitude towards the sponsors. yes, the sponsors, the people that pay a lot of money in order to boost their income in order to produce better products in order to make people happier. are you really so superficial or just pretend to be? these are the rules of the Olympics and they are Fair.

  28. Cory 32: Do to the olympics what we did to santorum.

    What, name a disgusting sexual by-product after them?

  29. It’s a fair attitude toward the sponsors – up to a point. I don’t know about the Beijing Games, but earlier Games have gone so far as to exclude spectators because they were wearing the wrong brand of shoes (the shoes had three stripes, or a curved check-mark thingy whose *name* is trademarked, or the fourteenth and second letters of the alphabet, and hence were displaying a non-sponsor’s logo). Rumor had it that they also were excluding the “wrong” brands of automobile from spectators’ parking, and so on.

    There has to be some point where such things become unreasonably intrusive. Requiring uniforms (bearing the sponsors’ logos prominently) for all spectators? For all passers-by in the street outside? Strip-searching spectators to see if they have correctly branded underwear?

    Of course, being a private organization, they have every right to exclude whomever they please. And as a private individual, I have every right to refuse to do business with them or their sponsors.

  30. Let’s all come together to celebrate the spirit of sportsmanship and athletics and….YOU THERE, SPECTATOR, YOUR SHIRT HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED BY THE COMMITTEE!!!

  31. IMMORTAL PING@48: Please see KEVIN KENNY’s comment @51. Displaying sponsor’s logos ubiquitously at all official events is one thing. Excluding ALL other logos that might possibly be seen at such an event, in the surrounding area’s hotels and streets, etc. is just insanity and greed in anal application. The next logical step is to masking tape over the mouths of all who are not corporate spokespersons paying for the right to speak (a good protest idea until it becomes law.)

  32. mdhatter,

    I was thinking of mussolini too- but I’ve met more than one person who thinks Capitalism and Democracy must coexist. As you and I know, not true at all.

    But the Chinese brand never fails to oopsy daisy me right up my old flibbertygibbet. ‘Tis a wonderment they’re crafting there.

  33. I can’t help but wonder how much of that sponsor money is going towards labor and materials for this…I would go so far as to say that the cost of covering up non-sponsor logos probably cancels out the contributions by at least a couple of different sponsors.

  34. does anyone else recall watching the women’s swimming ( I can’t recall which one) where they showed the finalist from China with the piece of tape over the “SPEEDO” logo on her body suit?

    I thought it was really weird when I first saw it and had to rewind the TIVO just be certain I had not imagined it.

    Now it all makes sense after reading this.

  35. @56: Holy cow, Microcars, you just gave me a flash of insight….

    While watching the beach volleyball — at a sports bar! It was just on! I swear! — one of the competitors had tape all over an obvious tattoo shape on her shoulder.

    You don’t suppose she had a Harley logo for a tattoo? Or the logo of a rock band? Oh boy….

  36. a bit of Googling shows I was not alone seeing the tape on the Chinese swimmer’s Speedo.

    I wish I had a screen cap of it.

    and the tape/bandage over the tattoos makes sense now too.

    My wife and I kept wondering why we were seeing all these rather elaborate bandages on some competitors…

    perhaps in the future they will all be covered with Stickers like NASCAR….

  37. I wonder if any manufacturers have any important function incorporated into their logo, so that covering it up makes it not work.

    For example:
    The IR sensor for remote controlled TVs.
    The “Tuned” LED for receivers.

    You get the idea.

    Then,…the house burns down, the place is robbed, or you can turn on the TV…. Heh…

    Could you sue the IOC?

  38. The IOC is going to have a field day when the Olympics go to Vancouver. Lots of businesses in Washington use the word Olympic due to the nearby Olympic mountains/peninsula. Businesses have already had problems in the past but I’d expect it to get worse now that the Games are in the same region.

  39. #58 Pauldrye No, apparently that’s Kinesio tape, an adhesive designed to support muscles.

  40. @zandar

    But the Chinese brand never fails to oopsy daisy me right up my old flibbertygibbet.

    I hate it when that happens

    ‘Tis a wonderment they’re crafting there.

    I’ll be quite impressed if in a year the new downtown trains are still running. But DAMN they know how to put on a show.

  41. @64: Kinesio tape is new to me, but after googling some images I don’t think that was what it was. It resembled black electrical tape, and there where none of the obvious curving joins and lines of what I’m seeing in the pics. The structure resembled more of the set of lines in a web shape on her shoulder than simple V’s.

    On the other hand, the sport is so relatively new and counterculture that it wouldn’t surprise me if top-tier players use electrical tape for that purpose.

  42. @66: Check out this link from the Kinesio site. You’ll see olympic volleyball player Kerri Walsh sporting Kinesio tape, which does look a bit like electrical tape.
    Also, a quick Google search will show some recent items where people saw her haphazard-looking taping and wondered much the same things you are…

  43. #8 Dan, Who makes the tape? Is there an official tape of the 2008 Olympics?

    You’re right Dan. An opportunity has been lost. Instead of being blank, those tapes should have logos on them. But not just any logo.

    OK everyone. I’m selling a unique opportunity for the 2012 Olympics. Your logos on the tapes used to cover other people’s logos. We will be the official logo-covering-tape sponsor for the 2012 Olympics. We will be supplying the tapes for 2012. There are 3,000 spots on each roll of tape, and there will be 10 different rolls, making a total of 30,000 available slots. Of course they will need more than 10 rolls, so these will repeat. That means even if you purchase only one slot, your logo will appear more than once. Start your bidding now …

    1. Manchuka,

      The standard for blog links in comments is that they have to add value to the discussion in the form of additional information or images. Thanks.

  44. stupidity is as entertaining as it is irritating. i’m gonna masking tape over all my levi’s insignia, ’cause they’re not paying me to wear their dang pants. as the first commenter said, of course one could run around yanking the tape off of logos. but one could also draw sanctioned logos on the tape. why *shouldn’t* it look like mcdonald’s manufactures elevators?

    or one could also draw the actual, correct logos onto the masking tape. or the ‘scotch’, ‘3m’, – or the ‘tesa’ logo, if you’re german. or one could write ‘look at this cool piece of masking tape’ on the cool pieces of masking tape.

    one could also just start sticking tape in carefully-selected other places. tape over all of the elevator buttons. i once had a pair of tennis shoes that were *mostly* tape. but those were duct tape shoes.

  45. I already do this whenever I can but for any logo in my sight. You’d be surprised how calming it is not to look at logos. How cool would it be if lots of people started doing this?

  46. If I were there, not only would I put tape over logos of the sponsors, I would put tape randomly in places where people might think there would be logos.

    That would drive the tape checkers nuts.

  47. I was there working and stayed at the Media Village – yes all non-sponsor logos were covered like the thermostat label, the elevator makers name etc. This is because the official sponsors make these items and paid a shit-load of money for exclusive branding rights. Personally I loved having almost every logo covered and find it funny that boing boing types feel ripped off from not being advertised to. This is SOP for media events – especially where TV cameras are involved. Not one single spectator was sent home for wearing competing products as far as I know.

    There was a lot of funny business going on at these games but they were about China’s secret police and their military security policies. Now that was fucked up beyond belief.

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