22 May 2012

Olympic bosses should not let mad branding rules hit Games fever

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Using the words “Olympics” and “Games” could get you in trouble, and that’s not doing anything for getting the crowd to its feet ready to cheer for one of this year’s big events. The branding supremos over there at the Olympic stadium in east London have gone a bit power crazy in their bid to fight off the hawkers and the sellers of fake Olympic mementos.

It is fair enough to want to let those companies who have supported the Games with their cash to make the most out of their investment and it is fair enough not to want tacky and fake Olympic memorabilia to force the “real” stuff out of the market, but when you have to worry about your school sports day overstepping the mark, then it is all going a little bit too far, and that’s not very British.

2012 has the potential to be an historic year, so it is not surprising that many want to use the Olympics as a “peg” to hold a debate, or an event, a discussion or to get people to watch sport, or even to hold a special school sports day.

And it is in keeping with the spirit of the Olympics to get as many people involved as possible in the idea of the Games. The idea is to get the public excited about the events, but also in participating in some small way, whether that is going down the pub and watching the 800 metres, or having a school Olympics day.

So it is more than strange that if a school wants to have a competition for their pupils to design a Olympic-themed tea towel and then sell them to raise money for the school, this simple activity could infringe the LOCOG rules, according to the PTA UK, the organisation that advises PTAs around the country.

That all sounds a bit silly.

The branding mafia should remember that the Olympics needs public opinion on side, and public support. If you want to rally a crowd, don’t be seen as mean spiritied, relax a little and let the public rally round and embrace the Olympic moment, and if that means ignoring a school sports day with the words Olympic on it, then that would be sensible.


Read more of our articles on the Olympics and national identity:

Olympic games is not an Anglocentric affair

Our Island Story

Humour is great part of British Olympics

The real Olympic opening ceremony?

Fans at Olympics say good chance for “everyone to come together”

Olympic torch journey has touched many hearts

Hopes and Fears


Or watch our Olympic interviews and videos:

British Future director Sunder Katwala at the very first Olympic event of 2012

British Future at the Olympics’ first day

British Future interviews crowd at first match of Olympic Games

British Future interview with football fans at Olympic Games match in Cardiff



British Future’s latest activity on Twitter