Monday, August 6, 2012

Which one is more important - Olympic Games or Brand?

"Where are all your theaters and marble statues?
Where are your Olympic Games?"
These lines are from the poem 'Dialogue of the dead' by Panagiotis Soutsos; which is considered as the first reference for the revival of ancient Olymbic games. After two centuries people find themselves asking the same question - 'Where is my Olympic game?'

Read some of the stories from 2012 Olympic venue - London - as reported by various papers.

1936 - Jesse Owens in Berlin
"ban on using any other WiFi hot spot in the Olympic arena except those set up by British Telecom (BT), the “official communications services provider” for the Games. The ban extends to creating a wireless hotspot on personal smartphones and using portable WiFi hotspot devices"(#2)

"Visitors are not allowed to wear anything with logos of companies not sponsoring the Games. Journalists have had logos on their Apple and Dell computers covered."(#2)

"fish and chip stalls have been prevented from selling chips without fish as McDonald’s is the official chips maker of the Games."(#2)

"ban on using Olympic rings even as a mark of support for the Games. Old ladies trying to get into the spirit of the Games by decorating cakes with Olympic rings have been told to remove them."(#2)

"A young florist, who put up Olympic rings made of tissue paper in her shop window was threatened with legal action and forced to take them down."(#2)

"a crack team of branding "police", the Games organisers Locog have acknowledged, will be checking every bathroom in every Olympic venue – with the power to remove or tape over manufacturers' logos even on soap dispensers, wash basins and toilets." (#3)

"A photoshoot promoting easyJet's new routes from London Southend airport was also interrupted by a Locog monitor after local athlete Sally Gunnell was handed a union flag to drape over her shoulders. According to reports, Locog felt this would create too direct an association with her famous pose after winning Olympic gold in Barcelona in 1992 (British Airways, rather than easyJet, is the airline sponsor of London 2012)"(#3)


According to the reports the estimated worth of Olympic brand is $45bn. I think the organizers often fails to understand the simple fact that $45bn tag came because of people like me and you are ready to watch the game in its original spirit. If we - the spectators - are not watching then none of the multinational companies will come to sponsor it.

Organizing committee should protect the rights of sponsors. After all they are spending hard cash to get a spot on this sporting extravaganza. But not to the extent that it will affect/curb individual's justified rights (not commercial interests). The game is for and still running because of millions of individuals like me and you - a fact 2012 London Olympic Organizing committee should always remember.


1. London 2012 - Using the Brand
2. What Olympics? Show me the money!
3. Olympics 2012: branding 'police' to protect sponsors' exclusive rights

Photo Courtesy: German Federal Archives

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