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Olympic Park Saturated with Branding
Visitors to London can still find mentions of brands that haven’t shelled out millions to be official sponsors out in the city’s streets, but as they get closer to Olympic venues and particularly Olympic Park, the other brands slide away until they are completely saturated with sponsor branding. Whether it is recycling bins with a Coke logo on them; an outdoor theater sponsored by British Airways so those without tickets to events can witness them; a salon at P&G's pavilion; a crazy, interactive Coca-Cola sculpture; only eight (!) cash machines that only shell out money to Visa cardholders; the world's biggest McDonald's, or the logo-less Goodyear blimp that's convincing some that aliens are watching, the area is heavily branded. Visitors cannot miss learning exactly who has been deemed OK and who has not. And that’s, dear reader, why they pay the big bucks.
Australian Olympic Boss Seeking More Cash
While the Olympic Games are in progress and citizens can see just how their nation is stacking up against others seems to be a good time to press for more dollars. At least that’s what Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates seemed to figure. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Coates just sought more taxpayer funding of elite sports despite currently having a $100 million surplus. As it is now, the Herald notes, “the government spends about $170 million a year on elite athletes, with most of the spending focused on Olympic sports.” Since Australia hasn’t delivered a slew of medals at this Olympics, there may be more pressure for the country to put more investment into those sports. If there is, you can expect Coates to be right there at the forefront, applying pressure with all his might.
Former Olympians Leveraging the London Games
When you are famous for winning an Olympic medal, your name doesn’t tend to come up everyday. Generally, it comes up every four years when casual sporting observers remember that there are such sports as track and field or speed skating. Because of that, the Associated Press notes, former Olympians like to take advantage of Games when they are in progress to boost their names. Former American diver Greg Louganis, who won four gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Games, is in London to work for a sports-oriented social site. Former decathlete Bruce Jenner, who brought America a gold medal in 1976 as well as the dreaded Kardashians many years later, is in town as well as speed-skating champ Apolo Anton Ohno. Shawn Johnson is working as a "correspondent" for P&G. Former champs are everywhere. NBC has 28 former Olympians working these Games, AP reports. And why not? It’s an opportunity to make some bucks, feel the faded love of past glories, and build up their own personal brands.
Australian Athlete Attacks Rule 40
A number of Olympic athletes went onto Twitter last week to protest the rules that forbid them from tweeting any messages that support companies that may have supported them during the crucial July 16-August 15th time window. After all, sponsors have paid a lot to be involved with the Olympics and the folks in London didn’t want a little bit of tweeting to derail millions of dollars of work. Australian swimmer Libby Trickett didn’t seem to get the memo about Rule 40 and tweeted two messages on July 28 that mentioned one of her sponsors, a brand called Inner Nutrition. Well, that did not go over with the International Olympic Committee. However, instead of making an international mockery of her and holding her up as a message to other athletes, the IOC has surprisingly handed the problem over to the Australian Olympic Committee, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. It remains to be seen how the AOC will handle it. One Trickett sponsor they haven't gone after: Rio Tinto, which is the official provider of the metal being used to produce the 4,700 gold, silver and bronze medals to be awarded during the London 2012 Games.