It’s 2012, the greatest show on earth is about to arrive in London, the British public is enthusiastic… but what mileage can we all make out of the feelgood factor that is the Olympic Games? Well, frankly, very little - if any.

If you are not an o cial sponsor, you may not associate your business with the Olympics in a way that causes the public to believe that you are providing financial or other support to the Games. This prohibition has been in place since 1995 to prevent ambush marketing.

Prominent, unnecessary promotional references to the Olympics or Olympians are deemed to create an association and will potentially lead to a challenge by the IOC or LOCOG. You will be required to justify your use as an honest commercial statement, not taking unfair advantage of the Games.

You would need to show a genuine connection between your business and the description or imagery used.

If you thought that was tough and are now crossing that “Olympic edition” idea off your marketing campaigns for 2012, there are additional protections in place speci cally for London: any association with the London Olympics may infringe the London Olympic association right and trigger action from LOCOG. Think athletes being used to advertise non-sports products, images of Olympic sports featuring in an ad or iconic London views being combined with your brand and a sporting reference, especially if you have no history of using such images.

Restrictions are in place banning all non-sponsor advertising from the immediate vicinity of the Olympic venues, including Tube stations, immediately before and during the Games. These controls prevent the distribution of giveaways, yers, laser advertising, fly-posting, broadcasts, targeted texts and advertising on buildings. The police and Olympic Delivery Authority have powers to remove offending items or persons used in ads. There are criminal penalties.

Perhaps it is easiest to think of the Olympics as the brand with the most wide-ranging protection there is, with a strong presumption of guilt for anyone daring to create a connection. Given the tight controls on advertising and marketing around the Games, pick up the baton if you dare.