With the London 2012 Olympics looming over us, getting closer and closer by the minute, and athletes beginning to limber up already, it can’t be denied that upon us once again is a national event, no a global event!
Last year we had the royal wedding to bring traffic jams and millions of people to the streets, but this year the Olympics is set to bring the mayhem on an even bigger scale to our capital city.
As we saw the attempts that brands made to affiliate themselves with the royal wedding, so too will we see an equal measure of brands attempting to be Olympic. Obviously with an event of this nature, official sponsors buy their way into various events and promotion. Unlike the wedding, Olympics is there to make money, and sponsorship is a great form of revenue.
Before you scroll down the page, can you name the official sponsors of the event?
Here they are, and there are no more, if you named any others you have been mislead by crafty advertising and fake association, which is an issue that has been distressing the Locog (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) for some time.
Once the millions of pounds it costs to become associated with the Olympics has been paid, the select few brands are free to claim alliance with the games, and circulate literature dripping with logos and references. With all the money invested to become part of Olympics 2012 you can understand that the event organizers would want their associates to be benefitted and protected, which is why it has become increasingly irritating for organisers and brands alike to see unassociated organisations portraying Olympic messages, or hijacking/purchasing Olympic hashtags, whose presence is merely to promote paying companies.
A particularly frustrating example comes from sports brand Nike. Most would see the label, and associate with sport, note the range of products it sells for all sporting types, and then logically come to the the conclusion that it is in some way, biggest sporting event of the calendar. Nike themselves haven’t sponsored the event, but similarly haven’t done much to dispel this assumption that they have, using taglines that relate subtly, and at times blatantly, to the Olympics. Nike’s most recent campaign utilizes Twitter and the hashtag “make it count” very much symbolizing the mantra of the Olympics. This, paired with the use of former Olympians such as Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah, is extremely misleading. Although not currently breaking the rules, it has become increasingly unfortunate for legitimate sponsor, Adidas, who have recently been hit with stats that show on Twitter alone, 7% of Olympic conversation includes references to Nike and only 0.49% come back to Adidas.
Although Twitter has claimed that it won’t be allowing no specified users to buy Olympic themed hashtags, this isn’t the only manipulation Locog has had to instigate in order to protect paying clients. In a forward thinking investment last year, Locog made an agreement with Four Square which would essentially stop any brands not paying to be associated with the Olympics from creating a check-in location around the venue.
All this, combined with an event wide ban on volunteers having the ability to tweet, Facebook post or blog any back stage areas or behind the scenes footage, shows that Locog is really making an effort to ensure their sponsors are looked after.
With this in mind however, how much can Locog really influence the online market? Without going as far as buying the loyalty of every website out there, is there much more that they can do? Already receiving criticism for the government’s role in making the re-sale of tickets for the games illegal, by the music industry, any more hand outs and assistance from the government could leave a lot more people hot and bothered. And besides, do David Cameron really have time, when there are important private jets to board and basketball games to watch?