London 2012

London 2012 Watch: Visa Cashes In on Olympics with ATM Monopoly

Posted by Barry Silverstein on August 8, 2012 04:14 PM

Visa's high-profile TV campaign for the London 2012 Olympics, like the commercial featuring Michael Phelps, carry the tagline, "People everywhere go with Visa." But what that doesn't tell you is that people everywehere at the London Olympics go ONLY with Visa.

That's because every one of the ATMs at the Olympic games accepts only Visa cards. It gets worse: There are only eight — count 'em, eight — ATMs across all of the London Olympic venues, according to the UK's This is Money. In fact, an agreement with Visa led to the removal or disabling of twenty-seven other ATMs.

Basically, that means anyone attending the Olympics without a Visa card needs to bring cash. To speed purchases — in keeping with the brand's London 2012 ambassador Usain Bolt — Visa instituted a contactless payment system, so visitors can wave their Visa card at a payment terminal to get food and souvenirs, or in one a few of London's iconic black cabs.

But on July 29 at Wembley, where Great Britain was playing the United Arab Emirates in football, aka soccer, the system went down. As a result even Visa cardholders were left out in the cold — which is not entirely unusual for Londoners to feel, but still.Continue reading...

London 2012

London 2012 Watch: Olympics Visitors, Athletes Maxed Out on Sponsors

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 7, 2012 06:22 PM

Today's Brandlympics is brought to you by Google's ridiculously addictive homepage doodle — an interactive hurdles game.

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 CashContinue reading...


Nissan Redesigns the London Black Cab [Updated]

Posted by Shirley Brady on August 6, 2012 03:07 PM

On Day 10 of the London Olympics, Nissan on Monday unveiled its vision for the future of the city's iconic 'black cab' and its 300,000 daily users - the Nissan NV200 London Taxi. Taxi versions of the NV200 have already been unveiled in Tokyo and New York, where it's billed as the "Taxi of Tomorrow."

The NV200 London Taxi will offer significantly reduced CO2 outputs compared to current taxi models, in line with London Mayor Boris Johnson's Air Quality strategy for London. An all-electric e-NV200 concept is also set to undergo trials in the Capital.Continue reading...

London 2012

London 2012 Watch: Olympic #Rule40 Backfires as Fans Embrace Non-Sponsors

Posted by Abe Sauer on August 6, 2012 12:12 PM

"Some journalists have been surprised to see Olympic workers taping over the logos on their Dell and Apple computers, since neither company is bankrolling the games, and the U.S. women's soccer team has been told not to hand out its media guide because it has 12 small logos of its sponsors — which are not official Olympics 2012 backers."

The absurd levels
to which Olympic organizers are going to erase any and every possible non-sponsor brand name from peaking out came to its absurd apex on Saturday during the archery competition. On his way to the bronze medal, Chinese archer Xiaoxiang Dai was forced to put neon-yellow tape on his hat to cover its nearly invisible, black on black logo for… the Chicago Bears. Continue reading...

London 2012

London 2012 Watch: Visa Runs Real-Time Congrats to Michael Phelps

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 1, 2012 06:33 PM

Today's Brandlympics round-up is brought to you by field hockey, the London 2012 Olympics sport celebrated in today's Google homepage logo:

Government Not Relaxing Olympic Marketing Ban for Months

The architects of London’s new arenas and sporting venues would like the world to know who they are and what they’ve done, but London won’t allow it. Due to the strict marketing rules in place, the venues can only be associated with London 2012 and the Olympics and not be used to market anyone or anything that hasn’t shelled out the millions it takes to be an official sponsor. And that rule isn’t expected to disappear before year’s end. This, of course, has left the architects unhappy. “The end of the year’s no good,” said Angela Brady, the president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, to BDOnline. “All eyes are on London right now. I want the architects to be able to stand proudly in front of their buildings and talk about them to international TV crews. These rules are against the whole spirit of the Olympics. Crushing the small guy is just not on.”Continue reading...

London 2012

London 2012 Watch: Brands Get on the Bus, Kate Cozies Up to Cartier

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 19, 2012 06:06 PM

The Olympics in London will kick off on July 27 with an Opening Ceremony that’s already been cut back a bit so that those attending will be able to get home on the trains. Of course, that’s if there are trains running at all. The AP is reporting that about 400 employees of the train system are threatening to strike. If that weren’t enough, border guards at Europe’s largest airport, Heathrow, are also saying they’ll walk off the job the night before the Games get started. Enjoy London, everybody who shelled out big bucks to get there. At least visitors can hop on one of the hard-to-miss sponsor-wrapped buses that CBS Outdoor UK is creating for the likes of Visa and other brands. More below on the latest from London.Continue reading...

London 2012

London 2012 Watch: P&G's Olympics Campaign Does "Best Job" - Study

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 19, 2012 04:51 PM

Brands spend millions to become official partners of the Olympics, and Ace Metrix says those sponsorships are worth it. Ace Metrix is the only company scoring every nationally airing US Olympic ad leading up to and during the games, and today announced their Olympic ad effectiveness program.

“We are thrilled to provide a 360 degree view of ad effectiveness for brands who have invested in Olympic sponsorships and Olympic themed ads,” said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix, about its ranking of London 2012 marketing campaigns to date.

“The Olympics are a significant investment for any sponsor, and understanding the effectiveness of that sponsorship is critical in the era of marketing accountability," he added. "We are particularly interested in the data regarding the vital emotional elements associated with the Olympics. Understanding how the emotion of such a global event relates to the rational consumer processing that accompanies the vast majority of advertising will be fascinating."Continue reading...

London 2012

London 2012 Watch: Brand Police, Anti-Doping Ads and More

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 16, 2012 05:19 PM

You can’t stop it now. That Olympics train is running down the track and won’t be stopping till the final Royal Scone is eaten and the last big-hatted Guard struts by and the final Beatles song is sung during the Closing Ceremonies on Aug. 12. Don’t even think about getting out of the way, and that goes to marketers, too. We're watching how marketers of all sizes, official sponsors and non-sponsors, grapple with the hurdles of the London 2012 organizers' tough rules protecting sponsorships — starting with our lead story today:

Watch Out! The Brand Police Are Watching You

While there is some question on just how secure these Olympics will be, there is no doubt that this will be the most vigilant Olympics ever when it comes to fighting off any brands that are planning to use the Games as any kind of way of presenting their message if they haven’t shelled out the big bucks to allow them the right to do so.

The Independent reports that almost 300 “Olympics officers” hit the streets of the UK ("with a vengeance") on Monday, “enforcing sponsors' multimillion-pound marketing deals” and keeping a steely eye for ambush marketing. Such words as “gold,” “silver,” and, of course, “bronze” have been outlawed from any advertising. The newspaper comments, "Publicans have been advised that blackboards advertising live TV coverage must not refer to beer brands or brewers without an Olympics deal, while caterers and restaurateurs have been told not to advertise dishes that could be construed as having an association with the event."

Interbrand London's Lorna Fray, in her dispatch from London today, notes at least one non-sponsor whose signage around London might lead the casual observer to think it's an Olympics campaign: MasterCard, whose "Priceless London" outdoor marketing push "references heroes, unique experiences and London without mentioning sport or 2012" — much to the annoyance, no doubt, of official London 2012 credit card partner Visa.Continue reading...

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