Just three weeks before the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics, a political movement is taking shape in London to ban the presence of major sponsors Coca-Cola and McDonald’s at the games. As Time reports, the London Assembly — essentially like a large city council — passed a motion to urge the Olympic Committee not to promote sugary drinks and high-calorie food in conjunction with an event that promotes health and athletic excellence. They kind of have a point.
This is all likely to be just a lot of protest noise, though, because the Olympics needs that corporate cash more than they need London’s approval. Coca-Cola has been a sponsor of the games since 1928 (McDonald’s since 1976), and major sponsors like it account for 40 percent of the games’ revenue.
The London Assembly, along with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, say that all the advertising for these companies “sends out the wrong message” to children. And we didn’t realize this, but Coke and McDonald’s have exclusive rights to sell non-alcoholic beverages and food in the Olympic Park and Athletes’ Village — though Coke insists that three-quarters of those sales will be of water, juice, and sugar-free beverages. Look for Mickey D’s to be selling a lot of conciliatory Big Macs and milkshakes after athletes fail in their events and resign themselves to emotional eating.