Why do otherwise upstanding companies press to see just how far they can push the rules? It's because marketers lie awake at night hoping to link their brand to athletes overcoming all odds to win before a global audience.
The Summer Olympics are valuable because they occur so infrequently — once every four years — and the competition includes virtually every country on the planet. Although soccer's World Cup is similar in terms of national fervor, it goes on for longer, diluting its appeal, and it is less popular in that market of markets, the United States, Greyser said.
Unlike a typical sporting even that attracts mostly men, the Olympics draws in both men and women.
And then there's social media. While Olympic officials previously only had to worry about ads and billboards, now they must also police Facebook, Twitter and blogs. And not just by companies, but by fans and athletes.
Athletes have all sorts of personal endorsement deals, creating more headaches for Olympics organizers. During the games, athletes will be barred from tweeting about sponsors. If they prefer Pepsi to Coke, they had better not say so, at least not in their Twitter feed, according to IOC rules.
It's not clear what would really happen if an athlete as famous as Bolt were to violate those rules. Organizers say they will take a pragmatic approach and that most cases will be dealt with "in an amicable way."
Still, it's a little sad to go by 61 West Ham Lane and see the maroon sign with the "O'' rubbed out.
"We really did put the pressure on," said regulator Steve Miller, who heads a body to standardize local regulations. The group has since stepped away from the branding business.
Cafe workers say the "O'' vanished after they became tired of talking to reporters. But even Miller confessed to being somewhat startled, having wandered by one day to see it missing.
"I thought it had fallen off," he said.
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