Monday, July 16, 2012

London Gets Gold Silver and Bronze at the Summer Olympics 2012 (aka The Banned Post)

You can't even say Summer... I know we don't
really have one in the UK, but that is ridiculous.
 The Olympic Games are coming to London, and the whole nation is invited to join in with the celebrations and the excitement! Unless however, you are a small business. In which case you are not allowed to talk about the olympics in any recognisable form whatsoever.

The Independent and other papers are today talking about the purple clad 'brand police' who will be going round enforcing the London committee's outrageous sponsorship rules. Described by Marina Palomba, of McCann Worldgroup as "the most draconian law in advance of an Olympic Games ever". 300 brand police doing a semi-pointless job while 3,500 army personnel are drafted in for security!

What a horrible mess of perception. A largely public funded event around togetherness and national pride, and as part of it we get Logocop.

The rules protecting Olympic sponsors should be about stopping big brands from hi-jacking their investment and causing misattribution (see Li-Ning at the 2008 Beijing Games), not about clamping down on small and medium businesses looking to sell a few more products by holding olympic special offers.

If people are misattributing your sponsorship, maybe you haven't been utilising it in the right way.

Now protecting an investment is all well and good, but I hope the brands involved are aware of just how much negative publicity they are getting.

If it was my money, I would be far more scared of my brand being perceived as funding and encouraging a bunch of faux-police state brand wardens with no compassion or care for small businesses, than I would a bit of misattribution from an event that will have your brand plastered all over it.

If you sell 'Golden Skin - Summer Bronze lotion'
you are screwed this summer my friend...
McDonalds have paid a huge amount of money to be an official sponsor, but the draconian 'Normal chips are banned so only McDonalds fries can be served' is such a damaging move that I can't possibly believe anyone in their marketing department would have approved it. Way to damage years of gradually restored trust.

Coca Cola is a brand that lives happiness and togetherness, so being seen as a funder of the purple product and packaging police is plainly a poor move.

For the Olympic Committee itself, surely this clampdown goes totally against the whole idea of the games? Of course you want to ensure your sponsors get visibility, but this is just damaging people's impressions of the London games, the sponsors, and the Olympics in general. They are dangerously close to crossing a line of credibility that they will never get back, an event far far more damaging for their sponsorship budgets than Nike gaining a bit of awareness from an Adidas sponsored event.
If I were Adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa, McDonald's or any of the other sponsors, I would be looking to distance my brand from this over the top enforcement of ridiculous rules immediately.

Even if the perception is worse than the reality, right of this second it is damaging the reputation of every brand associated with the London 2012 Olympic Games.

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