Tag Archives: LOCOG

How to thank an Olympic GamesMaker

10 Sep

The perfect end to my perfect London 2012 Olympic experience was me furiously zooming my camera into the faces of our top athletes at the Athletes’ Parade. Ducking and diving to secure the best spot on The Mall, I was reminded of the success of the Games and how inspired the one million-strong crowds were by these new, and talented, celebrities.

Mo Farah, Nicola Adams, Zara Phillips, the Brownlee brothers, Tom Daley, Victoria Pendleton and Clare Balding (she did get very involved) all gave us a wave.

Unfortunately the GamesMakers were expecting a seat to watch the parade, after being invited by Locog as a special ‘thank you’, but instead we stood for four hours waiting for the athletes to reach us. There were mutters of ‘writing a letter of complaint’ and ‘we were meant to be involved, this parade is for us!’

I understood how they felt, but there’s no doubt the Olympic organisers have gone above and beyond for us. More than meals, transport and resources, we’ve been offered discounted theatre tickets, football tickets and qualifications courtesy of the Olympic sponsors. We’ve been thanked enough, or so I thought.

As I walked home this evening wearing my GamesMaker uniform for the last time, I realised we don’t need a parade to acknowledge the thousands of people who dedicated their free time to the Games. The simple thumbs up and smiles from people on the train reminds me how privileged I was to be a part of ‘the greatest show on earth.’

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Oddbins rebels against the Olympics

24 Jul

Just three days before the Olympics’ opening ceremony, wine merchant Oddbins has launched a rebellion campaign against the Games’ top tier sponsors.

The company, which has 35 stores throughout the country, is planning a counter-strike over the next three weeks – accompanied by campaign posters making consumers feel at home by wearing their ‘outlawed Olympics attire’. Essentially, all Nike wearing and Vauxhall driving, MasterCard holders will be welcomed in store with a 30 per cent off discount.

Oddbins’ managing director Ayo Akintola has fiercely stated that non sponsors, in the run up to the Games, have been treated like “beggars on the gilded streets of the Olympic movement”. However, he quite rightly mentions that he’s expecting some backlash from LOCOG as a result of the campaign, which last week published rules that no one may link to the London 2012 site in a “false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner.”

In response to Akintola’s rant, time will tell whether small businesses and non-sponsors profit during the Olympic Games. But, with an influx of visitors preparing to descend upon London, there’s an opportunity for everyone to seize. But, the question is – would consumers rather engage with a brand that is for or against the very reason they’re here?

Yes – the Olympics is going to cause disruption and the Olympics’ heavy-handed brand police have made headlines for the wrong reasons lately. But, as organisers have said time and time again, sponsorship is what allows the Games to take place. Let’s hope we look back at the Games as a highlight of the decade and beyond. Brands that take this approach will be better off than those that look the other way.

Selection of Olympic sponsors

Worldwide Olympic Partners: Coca-ColaMcDonald’s, P&G, UPS, Samsung, Panasonic, Dow, Atos, Omega, Acer, GE and Visa

London 2012 Partners: Lloyds TSB, EDF, Adidas, BT, BA, BP and BMW

Non sponsors include: Barclays, Nike, E.on, Virgin, HSBC, Canon and Carlsberg

Serena lets the alligator out of the bag

9 Jul

Five-times Wimbledon Champion Serena Williams has instilled fear into LOCOG and its sponsors by doing the one thing at Wimbledon that it can’t control at the forthcoming Olympics Games – bringing non sponsored brands into the stadiums.

Serena ignored the All England Lawn Tennis Club rules throughout the two-week tournament – that clearly stated that players are forbidden from showing non-sponsor drink brands within the ground during the competition – by bringing a Gatorade bottle to her post-match press conference on Saturday night. Fortunately, TV producers were able to edit it out of the picture and the pesky drink wasn’t given any airtime. But, is this her problem? Not really. Does she care? Unlikely. If anything, she’s given the brand more attention by breaking the rules.

To you and I this not something to make a fuss about. And frankly, no one would have noticed if the press hadn’t started shouting about it. Yet, event organisers continue to offer sports sponsors exclusive brand presence which cannot be guaranteed.

Some brands that don’t enter into official event sponsorship packages have tried to get their exposure by going through the stadiums’ back doors and taking ownership of the athletes themselves. Sports personalities like Serena Williams (Gatorade), David Beckham (Adidas) and Jessica Ennis (Powerade) all have brands fighting over them, and with so many rules and regulations it’s becoming difficult for their teams to work out what props are suitable and when.

London 2012 organisers will need to do everything they can to keep sponsors happy. Especially after recent research by Marketing magazine shows that re-call rates for companies assoiciated with the Olympic Games are disappointingly low – some consumers even assume that non sponsors Nike, Virgin and energy suppier E.On are all involved. Of the people asked, it was worldwide Olympic partners Coca-Cola and McDonald’s that came out on top, with Lloyds, Visa and EDF completing the top five. However, the top two have been criticised in the press recently, detracting from their association success.

A few weeks ago I blogged that Olympic sponsorship guarantees brands talkability inside and outside the stadium, regardless of exclusivity or not. It shouldn’t matter if some slip through the net. It’s not the branding people will be watching the Games for, it’s the sport (naturally). Even with the organisers playing by the book, the players (like Serena) may disregard the rules because it’s not on their mind or their trainers – and nor should it be.

With 48 medals on team GB’s target list, they’ll need to focus on their performance, not petty branding regulations.

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