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Regional Business News
regarding the 2010 Olympics
in British Columbia, Canada


OlyBLOG is for businesses across Canada, especially in Vancouver / Whistler and throughout B.C. We also hope companies in Alberta and United States (i.e. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and California) will find OlyBLOG interesting and informative.





CURRENT NEWS: Published April 2004


Olympia Restaurant Holds Ground Against Goliaths


Interesting developments have risen recently (October 2004) between VANOC and local businesses. VANOC is finally getting its golden-egg ducks and geese in order regarding trademark issues and has sent threatening cease and desist letters to businesses that have words like Olympic, 2010, Winter Games, etc., in their titles or their marketing collateral. The Olympic Goliath is making its intimidating presence felt - one shuddering stomp at a time.

In all fairness, Goliath, err I mean VANOC and the IOC have to defend the brand. They are obligated to protect the billions of dollars in profits that BIG business will handsomely reap from small and midsize businesses and taxpayers in B.C. regarding the 2010 spectacle. TOP corporate Sponsors have a lot at stake and you can bet they are not going to pussyfoot around with SMBs when it comes to generating a return for shareholders. VANOC knows exactly where its brand is buttered.

For those who missed it, VANOC is demanding that the Olympia restaurant on Denman in Vancouver remove their signs. The restaurant has been there for 25 years, and the controversial street sign has been up since 1991. On first inspection to most people it seems VANOC doesn't have much of a leg to stand on. When someone infringes your trademark you're supposed to defend it immediately upon learning of the infraction. If you don't, you lose your rights as the trademark owner - at least this is the way it works for most trademarks. Ethically, allowing a trademark owner to choose when and whom they defend their mark against is tantamount to rewriting the law for their convenience. However, because the Olympics is such a powerful organization they have special dispensation from most governments, which means they can enforce their mark retroactively and on their terms - special rules for Goliath. The Olympic organization not only holds trademark rights to the words and symbols in question, they have also been awarded an "Official Mark" on these properties, similar to the flag or Coat of Arms, etc. The only way small business operators like Mosi Alvand at the Olympia at 998 Denman can win is in the court of public opinion. Customers of the Olympia Restaurant have started a petition and it is taking off like wildfire.

According to Goliaths VANOC and Dick Pound, small and midsize business Davids in B.C. and everywhere for that matter must learn their place, which unfortunately is often at the end of the line. Greek taxpayers and SMBs (small & midsize businesses) recently learned a harsh lesson after tallying up a bill for $8 billion in over run costs to host the 2004 Summer Spectacle. It will take Athens at least fifty years to pay off the $15 billion total debt. Montreal hosted the Games in 1976 and they are still paying for it. If that doesn't choke the fun out of it I don't know what does. John Furlong CEO VANOC recently referred to the Games in Athens as successful. It might be construed as a success for BIG business, but certainly not from my perspective. As a Greek SMB, I would want to appropriately and proportionately share in the success too. NBC boast they gorged on a record breaking 4 billion viewers while small businesses in Greece eat cold raw debt.

Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis revealed that the country's deficit jumped more rapidly and higher than all other European countries. It shot up 4 times its projected level and twice the legal limit allowed for European Union member countries.

As a result, bond-rating agency Standard & Poor's dropped the country's debt-rating outlook from "stable" to "negative" blaming "an accelerating loss of fiscal discipline" partly related to the Games. They also reported Greece's fiscal position is the weakest of any major European economy. Karamanlis placed the blame squarely on the Olympics.

The Olympia restaurant owners on Denman in Vancouver are upset. They can't afford to hire a lawyer so their only recourse is to collect names on a petition. Small restaurants have a tough time in this city. The competition is fierce. Additional costs and wasted time can have severe impact. Thousands of people have already signed their petition and many feel that VANOC is bullying a small business owner who for over 15 years has been allowed to operate unencumbered. The Olympia Restaurant needs your support. Go down and let them know you support them, while you're there try the Souvlaki or Pizza. They're incredible!

To put this issue in an even clearer perspective for SMBs all throughout B.C., the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and VANOC have a responsibility to make sure BIG business doesn't end up sucking wind. Make no mistake - the IOC's 'primary' objective is to boost the Games, not the local host region or country. This philosophy is part of the reason Athens was hung out to dry in August. VANOC, the IOC's local rep, whom the IOC cunningly refers to as a partner, cannot have small restaurateurs dilute the powerful Olympic brand. In realty, and to use a sports analogy, the IOC is like a boxing promoter and the supposed partners (VANOC, federal, provincial & municipal governments) represent the boxing ring - the venue, while Olympic athletes are the fighters. "We in B.C." are not the Olympics. All "we" do is host the Olympics. When the IOC says jump, VANOC says, how high? According to the "partnership" and to Dick Pound and John Furlong who are hopelessly behind the times when it comes to "new age" marketing, it is restaurants like the Olympia on Denman that make it impossible for VANOC to attract big business sponsors. After all, what big corporations in their right minds would want to invest in the Vancouver/Whistler Winter Games when local companies endeavor, either by accident or design to get on the gravy train?

I'll tell you who . . . Ding Dong! It ain't Avon folks . . . it's Bell.

Enter Goliath's partner, and golden-egg corporate goose herder, "The Giant" (of "Jack and the Beanstock" infamy).

It's a tag team match of . . .
'Goliath & The Giant' VERSES 'David & Jack'.

David and Jack are going to get squashed just like Athenian SMBs and taxpayers unless they stick together. Interestingly, Sydney did it right, so all is not lost, but SMBs in B.C. need an aggressive plan like Australia's in order to come out ahead.

Telecommunications Giant Bell, just invested $200 million in 2010. $200 million is just the beginning for Bell, and it's only what you see on the surface. Ironically, and contrary to what Sam Corea at VANOC would like us to believe, Bell isn't scared off by underdogs David and Jack. In fact Bell were 'so not afraid' that they outbid their closest rival Telus by $65 million. They were 'so not afraid' that they bid four times more than what VANOC was expecting. Apparently VANOC seriously undervalued their position going into the negotiation, which leads me to believe there are serious business projection and possibly even management challenges in Oz. VANOC was seemingly surprised to discover that Bell was prepared to pay 4 times more than they expected. What was VANOC thinking - it wasn't BIG, that's for sure. VANOC should spend more time thinking big and leave the local folk alone so they can go about their business.

$200 million covers the whole VANOC organic hazelnut for 2010 TOP Sponsorships. VANOC won't have to shake another tree to reach their projected goal, but they will, and it will be interesting to see what other gold nuggets fall to the ground. From this point on, every TOP Sponsor they bring onboard is sweet, chocolaty Nutella gravy. I can see now why they want to cream small and midsize business. This is serious "Fee Fie Foe Fum" money. Only four more TOP Sponsors like Bell, and VANOC becomes a member of the "Mile High" billion-dollar club - guess who's getting screwed. Why in hell do they even need small businesses?

I'll tell you why . . . small and midsize business make up 98% of the landscape in B.C.

Small and midsize businesses aren't on the same page and up to speed yet, but they soon will be. Businesses in have-not provinces spend most of their time surviving, but things are changing. There is a new energy and excitement in BOOMTOWN. Whoa . . . did I say the "B" word?

Oh yeah. If you listen to mainstream media and government, we are movin' on up. The government, through repetitive ad campaigns, plus mainstream media through statistical and anecdotal report after report - boast there will be one million new jobs in the province over the next ten years and that Vancouver is the best place in the world to live. If it smells like BOOM, and it tastes like BOOM, it's BOOM! Go ahead, step in it!

If the government and big business are rolling in BOOM, why shouldn't you?

British Columbians for too long have been drowning in GLOOM.

Go ahead say it - boom. LOUDER - BOOM! Feels good doesn't it?

We all know there's no "I" in Team, but unfortunately there also seems to be no "U" in Olympics.

Let's put the "B" back in OOM and the "You" in Ulympics.

Go visit the Olympia at 998 Denman !!


*Ed. Note: We invested over three years and a six-figure budget researching Olympic organization relationships with sponsors, contractors, suppliers, partners, etc. The results surprised us too -- mouseover below





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Learn more about the challenges small and midsize
businesses. Leverage Olympic Momentum


Olympic organizations are
BIG BUSINESS MACHINES that attract corporations like Kodak, CocaCola, McDonald's, Wal*Mart, etc. Consequently, VANOC (Vancouver Organizing Committee) will be stretched thin trying to also develop ways to assist small and midsize businesses leverage Olympic momentum. Surprisingly, many people don't realize the event can also be lucrative for smaller businesses including agriculture, manufacturers, entertainment, technology, retail & obviously tourism, even when they don't have products or services that appeal to Olympic fans or serve a direct Olympic need.


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