June 4, 2007
2012 olympic “brand launch”
[The paparazzi getting in their photo ops etc. Watching them was somehow more interesting than watching the sporting celebs on stage.]
My friends at Edelman kindly invited me this morning to the “Brand Launch” of the 2012 London Olympics [No, I wasn’t paid. Just so you know]. Here are my thoughts, in no particular order:
1. Anybody who’s ever studied the Olympics knows what a huge political and economic undertaking it is. Frankly, I find multi-billion dollar exercises in good intentions a bit off-putting. I mean, look at The Millenium Dome. That being said, if they manage to pull iit off, it’ll create thousands of sustainable jobs for Londoners, not to mention re-develop the whole east end of town.
2. The event was very slick and stage managed. Quite unlike the geeky conferences I go to. You could tell all participants rehearsed their script for weeks beforehand. But hey, the stakes are high, so what the heck…
3. Sebastian Coe, the 1980 Olympic Gold Medalist and front man of the London Olympic Committee, is actually very good at his job. You can tell he passionately believes his own schpiel. With this kind of thing, it’s easy to be cynical. The hard part is being sincere, not to mention, effective.
4. From what I understand, they originally pitched it to the Olympics Committee as “The People’s Olympics”. Living in a basically liberal, tolerant large city of 10 million people, I can’t say I’m surprised. What I did like about their reasoning was that their schpiel wasn’t so much, “Let’s use the Olympics to inspire young people to find their own greatness via Sport”. Their schpiel was more, “Let’s use the Olympics to inspire young people to find their own greatness… within themselves. Doing whatever it is they do, not necessarily Sport”. I actually thought that was quite clever. In a good way.
5. I’m not used to these mega-huge, super-slick PR events. But it was interesting to see. I actually came away far less cynical than I had originally predicted. So good luck to them.
[UPDATE:] Seth Godin is not impressed:
If you are paying money to someone who talks like this, may I suggest you stop? And if you work for someone who talks like this, time to look for a new gig.
I know what he means. When large, highly-idealised, expensive political schemes start going on about “The Brand”, “Inclusivity”, “Excitement”, “Passion” etc, it all gets a bit cheesy [Like I said, remember the Millenium Dome?]. But I disagee with Seth re. the 2012 Olympic logo. I quite liked it when I first saw it.
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