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.
GlaxoSmithKline Defines Its Gold Standard
GSK won’t be having any of those officers showing up at their door. The drug maker is providing the anti-doping testing for the Games, a partnership it's trumpeting in a new campaign kicking off today in the U.K. With the goal of highlighting athletes who are drug-free, the first ad (at top) features Marlon Devonish, who's a sprinter, Olympic Gold Medallist, former World Indoor, European and Commonwealth Games champion (and MBE). Part of GSK's efforts will feature “the UK’s largest London 2012 outdoor sign, which covers GSK’s Brentford headquarters,” according to the Inspiration Room.
GE Maps Its Power
Even though the power of GE will be everywhere at the Games, it likely won’t be evident to the casual passerby and certainly not to everybody watching from thousands of miles away. So official London 2012 sponsor GE has created an interactive online map to show how its helping to make the Games happen. “It maps the Olympic venues and other landmarks in the UK and users can click on each landmark to find out information about its infrastructure,” Marketing Magazine reports.
Adidas Athletes Start Showing Off Their Duds
Official sponsor Adidas spent big bucks to be the apparel maker (tapping favorite designer Stella McCartney for the honors) for Team Great Britain at the London Summer Games so there is a minor celebration each time a uniform goes out the door, particularly to such athletes as Mo Farah, Andy Turner, Hannah England and Kate Dennison, who have all picked up their performance uniforms, village wear, and training wear and are podium-ready.
Team HK Wearing Clothes Made in HK
As the U.S. Olympic Committee vows to never got embroiled in a "Made in China" uproar over its "Team USA" outfits again, China's Team Hong Kong athletes will be wearing apparel made by Britain’s Kent & Curwen — but have no fear, Hong Kong residents, the company has been owned by Hong Kong’s Li & Fung since 2008.
The Eye on London Eyes Tweet-Inspired Light Show
Tweets about the London Olympics during the Games will help inspire a 24-minute light show on the EDF Energy London Eye each night of the Olympics, according to the London 2012 press office. “London 2012 related tweets will be converted into the world's first social media driven light show every night,” the organization’s release claims. The show will feature plenty of gold, silver, and bronze lighting, naturally. Some MIT graduates and EDF “developed an algorithm that analyses tweets about the Games from the UK.” Tweets will be broken down into positive and negative conversations to figure out how the light show should look.
Teeming Masses Starting Teeming Into London
The Games don’t begin until July 27, but the athletes and team personnel are starting to stream in. The Huffington Post notes that at least 100 of the 1,000 official meeting-and-greeting volunteers were on duty at London's Heathrow airport on Monday. There were also hundreds of immigration agents working Monday as well to deal with the massive influx at Europe’s largest airport. Buses waited to take people to the Olympic village. However, the tweet of one American athlete, two-time world 400-meter hurdles champion Kerron Clement, showed that things weren’t exactly in total working order: "Um, so we've been lost on the road for 4hrs. Not a good first impression London."
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