With less than two weeks to go before the Summer Games kick off, London Olympics organizers have suddenly discovered that they’ve got a major problem on their hands: Security. And rain. A backlash to the so-called "brand police." And what to do with thousands of tetchy journalists?
Post-Cool Brittania, We Stand on Guard for Thee
After spending years prepping to make the Olympics a shining moment in the city’s history that should help make its brand shine, London is hurting for security help. Nick Buckles, the head of the firm that is providing what security will exist, G4S, admits that the whole thing has been a “humiliating shambles,” according to the Guardian. Even so, London city officials are hoping that somehow they can turn things around quickly in hopes of rescuing the city’s brand.
Promoting Brand London: Which One?
This is the biggest branding opportunity London is going to have across the globe for a long, long time, and the city is doing everything it can to take advantage of the situation in hopes that good PR will draw more visitors and, more importantly, their cash in the years to come. The main target of the message, though, will not be the tourists coming through but the 6,000 non-Olympic-accredited foreign journalists who will be in London and be “immersed in a seven-week boot camp” to help them understand the beauty of London, according to the Guardian. The goal is to get 1.1 million more people to visit the UK in the next five years and leave with their wallets weighing a little bit less. The challenge is which London they'll encounter — "With Cool Britannia a distant memory and the financial sector struggling to shake off its ugly reputation, do you sell the capital on its traditional merits – a comforting convergence of Harrods, history, and fish and chips — or on its forward-looking credentials, as a city of tech entrepreneurship, cutting-edge fashion and sushi?"
Maybe the Branding Rules Are Too Harsh?
While the security of locations and people might be lacking at the Games, one thing that has been protected immeasurably in the past few years are the brands that have shelled out big bucks to be official sponsors. One human-rights group, Liberty, is saying that the Olympics branding rules are too ridiculously tight when small businesses can’t even make things such as Olympic rings out of sausages. "What's going to be really important in the weeks ahead is that the signal goes out by those who enforce these regulations, to the local florists and chip shops that they are not going to be confused with sponsors," she explained,” said Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti, the BBC reports. "We can have proportionality in this. We want a light and common sense touch about local shopkeepers and cafes." Don’t bet on it, Shami.
One Olympic Body Barred From Advertising
The brand police are out in force this Olympics and even American Olympian Nick Symmonds’s little trick didn’t get past them. Symmonds will be running the 800-meter race with a small piece of tape on his left deltoid in order to cover up a temporary tattoo/advertisement. He sold the spot for $11,100 via eBay to Hanson Dodge Creative and the company has benefited by getting its name into articles like this one all over the globe.
UK’s Record Rainfall Wreaking Havoc
England has a rep for being a damp place but the UK in general this year has been even wetter than normal, which hasn’t been good news for Olympic organizers. Some planned Olympic sites are waterlogged and some events may need to be rescheduled or relocated, such as the rowing and equestrian events. "I've joked in the past about the challenge of putting a roof across the whole country but this is actually proving quite a challenge to us,” said two-time gold medalist and London organizer Sebastian Coe, according to Reuters. As it turns out, the Games may not actually end on Aug. 12 even if the Closing Ceremonies go right on ahead and take place. You don’t want to mess up anyone’s TV schedule.
British Supermodels Join Closing Ceremonies
When it comes to ending the Games, the Brits will be pulling out every stop — and superstar from the nation's pantheon of stars to leave the world with a final good impression of just how Great Britain showed itself to be. Helping out will be supermodels Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, who weirdly will be paid a pound apiece to be involved. They won’t be the only British models involved, either. Lily Cole, Stella Tennant, Lily Donaldson, and Georgia May Jagger will also be showing while David Bowie does his thing. Other musical acts reportedly hitting the big stage include Annie Lennox, Queen, One Direction, and George Michael, who likely won’t be singing “I Want Your Sex” to the Queen.
Is Everyone Still Mad at Ralph Lauren?
A whole lot of Americans, particularly those who are out of work, may feel be feeling pretty annoyed that U.S. athletes will be roaming around London in Ralph Lauren uniforms that were (apologetically) made in China. The United States Olympic Committee has already promised that athletes won’t be wearing outfits made in any other country when they suit up for the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, in two years. Folks in China, however, don’t see what the big deal is. An editorial in the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua comments, “tagging the uniforms with politics by those U.S. politicians exposes narrow nationalism and ignorance, and violates the original Olympic Spirit.” American Apparel is ready to help out, Team USA — or Russia. And remember the days when Canadians (Roots) made Team USA uniforms? Speaking of Canada, don't miss the stylish Team Canada gear that the Bay is selling.
At McDonald’s, You Don’t Even Need to Get Off the Couch to Make the Games
While some people work their whole lives to make it into the Olympic Games, McDonald’s is pointing out that plenty are there that haven’t pulled on an exercise outfit in their lives: We’re talking about the fans and the volunteers, of course. There wouldn’t be a Games without them. McDonald's UK has launched its London 2012 Olympic advertising campaign (at top and below) with an integrated “We All Make the Games” tagline that goes after the Common Man and makes us all feel like that just be supporting these incredible athletes we’re holding that torch – even if it’s just a (non-exclusive) French fry.
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