The Olympic Torch comes to Croydon

23 Jul

I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Olympic Torch this afternoon on day 66 of its momentous journey as it came through London Road in Croydon. Almost one year after the riots, it was a fantastic sight to see so many people gathered to celebrate part of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics.

I saw Beth McKillop, deputy director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, carry the Torch through the street as she was cheered up the high street. Sir Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard from the Star Trek movies) continued the Croydon trail later in the afternoon and described the experience as better than any move premiere he has ever attended.

Before I saw the Torch in all its glory, I was clearly reminded of the controversial reason why the Games can be dubbed ‘one of the greatest shows on earth’ as it was preceded by sponsor buses: Coca-Cola, Samsung and Lloyds TSB. They created a fan-fare of excitement for people as promotional people ran down the road waving flags, shouting encouragement and blasting music from the buses.

But, one sponsor in particular must be questioning if this is all worth it. The Grocer revealed at the end of last week that £50m top tier sponsor Cola-Cola posted a drop in sales month-on-month for the last quarter against rival Pepsi (who took the lead of Euro 2012). Boss Hubert Patricot has quickly responded to say that, of course, the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics are long-term investments for the brand which will continue to leverage the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to better engage with their customers. Time will tell.

Here’s a brief look at the sponsor buses:

Track the Torch’s remaining journey here.

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