As the Olympic torch arrives in London today, a little confusion and more clarity also arrives around the issue of whether visitors to the London 2012 Summer Games will be turned back at the entrance if wearing non-sponsors' logos. In a word, no — despite some confusion from Lord Coe.
That would be Sebastian Coe, the Olympic gold medalist and chairman of the London Olympics Organizing Committee, raised a few eyebrows beyond his advice to competitors to curb tweeting. The 2012 Summer Olympics chairman's interview with the BBC's Radio 4 sent his LOCOG colleagues "scrambling" Friday after he stated that Pepsi t-shirts on attendees wouldn't be welcome in deference to sponsor Coca-Cola, while Nike sneakers would be acceptable even though Adidas is the official shoe sponsor.
Coe had defended the IOC ban on 'objects or clothing bearing political statements or overt commercial identification' outlined in official guidelines for spectators. "We had to raise through the organising committee a mountainous amount of money through the private sector," he told the BBC. "We have to protect the rights of the sponsors because they in a large part pay for the Games." Au contraire, milord! According to the Associated Press, LOCOG issued a "mythbuster" fact sheet clarifying its brand guidelines stating that "Any individual coming into our venues can wear any item of clothing, branded or otherwise."
However! Don't pull any stunts such as arriving en masse in a branded stunt, as 30 Dutch women did at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa for the Bavaria bewing company in its trademark orange color. LOCOG's ambush marketing spotters are on the look-out in case "large groups come in together wearing clearly visible branding/marketing."
Dow Chemical’s Mascot Wins "Most Irritating" Title
Lots of folks are way more than irritated that Dow Chemical has remained one of the sponsors of the London Games because one of its subsidiaries, Union Carbide, was responsible for a gas leak that killed at least 11,000 people. Now attendees of the Games and the athletes themselves can be irritiated by Dow Chemical for another reason: its awful mascot. Adfreak is just one of the Olympic campaign observers creeped out by Dow’s new walking shrub. It's not a hedge fund manager. The walking topiary in its new digital campaign (watch the video here) is called — wait for it — "Hopeiary," described as "the planet's Olympic representative. Because even the planet has an Olympic Dream—a greener, more sustainable Olympic Games. Learn more and play the game at hopeiary.com."
They Don’t Call Them the XXX Games for Nothing
Roman numerals are often used by marketers to invoke the how lofty and important things are, but Olympic marketers have gone way out of their way not to avoid using them this time around. When you’re talking about the XXX Games, that’s going to happen. Of course, the folks at Durex don’t seem to mind the idea that there may be a lot of sex going on when you gather together thousands of the most active and physically fit individuals in the world. The Daily Mail reports that each Olympian will be receivieng 15 free condoms to use and there are plenty more where they came from. That’s more than 150,000 condoms being given away. While some athletes may never take them out of their gift bags, there are surely plenty more will take advantage of an extra workout or two before they compete. Durex is also looking to fund clever ideas for commercials that might go for the gold in a London-based contest with Mofilm this summer.
London ATMs Will Be Short on Cash
Remember the days when you had to hide your cash in money belts and things when you were traveling internationally? Well, folks who are traveling to London for the Olympics may get to relive those days because the ATMs there can’t seem to keep cash in them for very long as it is, and the Games haven’t even started yet. The AP hears that the UK’s Payment Council, “which works with banks and other cash providers,” is telling visitors to get their hands on British pounds before they enter the country in order to make life a whole lot easier for themselves.
Chivalry Dead for Japanese Olympians?
Japanese Olympians may be trying to go faster, higher, and stronger along with all the other competing athletes from around the globe, but they might want to work a little more on their “classier.” ABC News reports that Japan’s men’s national team flew to the Games in first class while the women’s team got to fly in the same plane way back in economy. A weird choice considering the women actually have a shot at the gold and the men most likely don’t. The Japanese aren’t the only ones to make such a mistake, though: The Australian women’s basketball team got to sit in economy while their male counterparts got to sit up front. We’ve still got a long way to go.
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