21 Comments

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this post and it got my back up a little at the same time. Not because of your writing or thoughts – simply because I too am fed up with mountains being made out of molehills. There are so many rules to adhere to these days. I completely appreciate bootlegging/blatant rip offs must be stopped, but there is so much silliness these days.

    Pish. I’m off to have a cup of tea (Green, with a hint of Jasmine. Delicious).

    • I agree with you. A warehouse full of fake goods and rip-off advertising should be the main target not stuggling small firms. In the case of the Olympics, it seems some care should be taken to avoid alienating the community.

  • Well I’m a coffee man (a smooth, rich Javan blend that tastes like you’re smoking a cigar) and can’t stand tea, loose leaf or not. And so maybe I should disagree with your words here too. And yet I cannot bring myself to.

    I read a post yesterday about how ‘logo fascists’ are completely ruining the Games this summer (http://www.bandt.com.au/opinion/the-olympic-logo-fascists-are-damaging-the-games) and it made me a little sad. When did this country become so shrouded in protection and litigation? I wrote a very short post yesterday that was, at least in part, inspired by this lack of perspective (http://www.futurecomms.co.uk/post/24613945567/dont-worry-be-happy). We need to wake up to ourselves.

  • Believe it or not, you’ve managed to break the rules, even without putting your cup down. Having read the guidelines thoroughly (one has to in my line of work) it didn’t take me long to work out that the Olympics are best avoided altogether in a marketing or PR context… and I’m glad that’s the case. So many campaigns will be trying to get something out of the games that we’ll all be sick of it before they even begin.

    • What felony did I unwittingly commit? I do see what you mean about the minfield for PR etc. But my thought is whether the heavy-handed enforcement isn’t counter-productive,for brand image? Apparently Seth Godin has just made a similar observation.

  • When a brand gets into the business of criminalizing fans for using its logo, it hasn’t crashed into a ditch, it’s leaped over it, Dukes of Hazard style, and the moron attorney who was unfortunately entrusted with the driving has proceeded to race on, undaunted by logic or common sense, right through the weeds.

    I can completely understand why the organization would want to ensure that its logo isn’t printed or stitched on counterfeit products. T-shirts, hats, plastic cups, cell phone cases… all right. You have to protect the partners and sponsors. You have to protect the revenue streams. But there is a difference between criminal behavior and the mere utterance of the name, even when it involves showing the damn logo. And treating fans like criminals, slapping them with fines and law suits for merely participating in the Olympic spirit and promoting the event for free is just not particularly inspired.

    Can you imagine if Coca Cola or BMW sent you a cease-and-desist letter each time you mentioned them on your blog? Can you imagine what that would do to their popularity? 😀

    So I agree with you. It’s dumb as hell. Especially since the Olympic Games are such a human thing. It unites us all in sport. It’s a universal spirit that we feel belongs to us all. Every time the organization now managing the event and “the brand” drops the hammer on someone for being excited about the Games and showing their support, they pitch themselves against that very spirit and make themselves our enemy.

    • Thanks Olivier, that is so well put. Your driving analogy fits with my thinking about heavy-handed branding. Heavy on the gas or foot on the brakes. You have to think past the logo and a big rubber-stamp — the nuance, the wise, articulate deployment is crucial. A brand needs the expert use of the gears to function properly.

      Someone was asleep at the wheel!

  • I’ve saw it go 180-but-equally-bad at the 96 Atlanta games. Officially licensed goods and vendors were everywhere. The streets were lined with officially licensed tented table shops all selling the same t-shirts bought from a central source. They flooded the market and made the side streets of Atlanta look like a Baghdad bazaar. In this setting, it was easy to get away selling knock-offs and the logo was bastardized a thousand ways.

    I had several college friends caught up in this debacle. They all thought they would get filthy rich selling t-shirts to tourists. In the end, they lost everything but their shirts. The Olympic authority accommodated everyone who wanted a booth – selling them the permit and officially licensed goods. They diluted the brand horribly.

    The end result? Tourists saw this ragtag group as knock off peddlers. It didn’t matter how nice of a setup you had because the booth ten feet away was selling the same exact thing with the same exact officially licensed hologramed tags.

  • I dunno. Seems as if they may or may not have missed the point of the olympics entirely. Giving over your brand to your fans is the surest way to connect and praps inspire something even bigger than what you had in mind. And create more than mere observers but prolly some more actual participants& healthier people. If that’s what they want. I know this because tyler knows this.
    Hells bells, even we allow our rule #1 to be broken. On occasion. Itykwim.

  • This isn’t even about the Olympic brand. This is purely about the Olympic brand SPONSORS who they charge millions of dollars to in order to use the brand. If every yahoo off the street uses it they can claim exclusivity to their sponsors. Not only do they trail people online and offline and threaten them with lawsuits for use, it is a requirement of anyone hosting the Olympics to alter their actual country laws to allow the Olympics carte blanche to do so, claiming it falls under “ambush marketing”: http://www.bizreport.com/2008/09/2012_olympics_advertising_restrictions_heavy_handed.html

    To say that they could care less about their brand “fans” is a woeful understatement. They care about the greenback (or whatever color money comes in.) It goes beyond the logo and into the use of combining certain terms, including this year the use of “2012” or any terms that would describe the Olympic games in London. Read: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/apr/13/olympics-2012-branding-police-sponsors for restrictions on athletes as well.

    But don’t worry – you can still link to their site! http://www.london2012.com/about-us/our-brand/using-the-brand/#link%20from%20website

    Non-commercial use is still totally restrictive: http://www.london2012.com/documents/brand-guidelines/guidelines-for-non-commercial-use.pdf

    I could go on all day about how and why this is the epitome of greedy capitalism and advert fascism and not in the spirit of sportsmanship they supposedly espouse. To sum up: the people running the Olympics are Olympic-sized Asshats.

    • Thank you Kristi. So many great points and supporting reference. And I am thrilled that you read my piece and took the time to share your point of view.

      Being extra-governmental, like FIFA and other sporting bodies, they seem a little short of checks and balances to me. Too free to take advantage of the power of patronage and license?

      • I don’t get how their advertising extends into the law. Countries are so willing to get them there, I guess, because of the money that will come along with hosting the games.

        In my first paragraph it should say “they can’t claim exclusivity to their sponsors”… doh! I get wound up and don’t type right. 😀

    • Maybe I should start suing people for quoting me, reviewing my book and using my name without my express consent. Then I’ll be cool like The Games.

      Meanwhile, the London 2012 logo is still pretty damn horrible. (Wait… can I say that?)

  • From an artistic point of view, we love this picture and would like to post on our facebook page ‘Great British Tea Party’. We hope you are in aTEAment!

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