London 2012 Watch: Usain Bolt a Jolt for Brands, as Andy Murray Curries Favor


Jamaica Celebrates as World’s Fastest Man and Woman Retain Olympic Titles

Jamaica celebrates its 50th anniversary of freedom today and it couldn’t be better timed. Coming on the heels of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s 100-meter gold medal on Saturday to retain her title as world’s fastest woman, Jamaicans continued the celebration after Bolt won his fourth Olympic gold medal Sunday, this one for the 100-meter dash in London. Before Bolt defended his World’s Fastest Man status and showed off all his post-race antics and unbelievable smile, the Puma-sponsored sprinter had himself a chicken wrap from McDonald’s, according to USA Today. This admission bodes well for Bolt’s wallet as he will likely be a much-sought-after pitchman in the wake of the Games, even as he disagrees with LOCOG’s controversial Rule 40 governing athletes’ personal sponsors. Only 25 years old, he may have another gold in him four years from now in Brazil. He’s certainly not shy; having just passed one million Twitter fans, his bio reads: “The most naturally gifted athlete the world has ever seen.”[more]

BMW Pushing Mini at the Olympics

Olympics sponsor BMW is hoping the sporting public thinks its Mini brand is the right fit for them. The company, which had its first earnings drop in nearly three years in the second quarter, is using its sponsorship of the Olympics to push the brand, according to Bloomberg. There are more than 200 Minis on the streets of London ferrying around athletes, and the automaker also has a limited edition Mini featuring the London 2012 logo and patriotic touches (see below). BMW apparently has got some growing competition as carmakers are “taking aim at the upscale small-car segment.” To answer, Mini is adding a seventh model to its collection early next year and possibly moving into a former Mitsubishi plant in the Netherlands since its Oxford, England, assembly plant is nearing capacity, according to the site. In addition to the Minis carting athletes, gear, and cameras around London are three “so-called Mini Minis — radio-controlled scale models of the hatchback,” that are a quarter of the size of production Minis and used for carrying such things as javelins, discuses, and shotputs around at events. “Sportiness is an important part of the brand image,” commented Michelle Roberts, spokeswoman for the carmaker’s Olympic activities. “Sporty driving dynamics and agile handling are the cornerstones of the Mini product family.”

London Olympic Logo Designers Expected Unhappy People

The logo for the London Games got a lot of criticism when it was first unveiled, but its designers are saying that they feel pretty fine with that. London didn’t need a logo with famous London landmarks on it and the hope was that the design would show that London is a city filled with many stories to tell. “The mark itself came from a energy grid we drew of lines that moved around, contained within a rectangle, which we stopped at one particular moment,” sais Brian Boylan, the chairman of logo designer Wolff Olins, according to Fast Company‘s FastCoDesign site. “This was used in a very random way to create a pattern, so this idea of freeform is right at the heart of the brand. The typeface very much links back to that. We never recommended anything with horizontals or verticals—it was always slightly to one side, to make people look at this thing and think twice. We used the term ‘prescribed anarchy’—it wasn’t we just wanted to draw something spiky.” While anarchy wasn’t exactly what they wanted the Olympics to turn into, the designers were aiming to show that London was filled with different voices. And so is the design world, apparently, since some have continued to criticize the logo even as the Games are more than half over — which Wolff Olins isn’t afraid to address:

Science of Sport Seeing Murray-Like Olympic Growth

Scottish tennis pro Andy Murray lost at Wimbledon to Switzerland’s Roger Federer about a month ago, but then dominated him this weekend at the Olympics, defeating him in straight sets to win the gold medal. Murray, who has won hundreds of matches in his professional career, said that this win was the biggest of his life. The folks at drink maker Provexis are likely feeling that, too. Murray is a fan of the Science in Sports brand of gel sports drinks that the company makes, and his win caused Provexis stock to “surge as much as 43 percent,” according to Bloomberg. Provexis was already scheduled to enter more supermarkets so its association with Andy Murray, which it can’t advertise, should help raise its market value considerably. [image below via]

Nigeria Using Olympics to Push Its Brand

The so-called brand police have been all over London looking to make sure that brands that haven’t shelled out millions to be official sponsors of the event don’t somehow make themselves appear to be aligned with the Games in any way. One area they likely aren’t putting a lot of effort, though, is on the brand of countries. According to, Nigeria is hoping its presence at these Summer Games will help build its brand globally. The Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation and the Nigeria High Commission in London organized a two-day “perception changing event …  where it displayed the culture and products of the country in addition to offering free lunch and gifts for guests,” the site notes. The country also did the same thing during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa two years ago. “The Olympics is a platform for any country to showcase it best and tell its story,” said Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, the director general of Tourism Development Corporation, the site reports. “The British people did so by exhibiting their culture. In Nigeria we must begin to tell our own story and not allow others to do so for us. There is no way we can brand Nigeria without the concept of culture and tourism. Tourism is the driver because it has so many legs, travels far and wide and is the major tool employed by other countries.”

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