It’s finally here. The Olympic Torch will end its journey and London 2012 will open with what, by all accounts, is set to be a spectacular ceremony.
But are the stories, reported widely in the media, about the Olympic ‘brand police’ ramping up its efforts even further in a bid to protect the official sponsors, doing more harm than good to said sponsors?
You can’t believe everything you read, but many do, and stories of spectators potentially being banned from wearing clothing featuring the logo of a non-sponsor, even if untrue, can have a long-term impact on how the sponsoring brand is perceived.
To many, a blatant attempt by Nike, for example, to overshadow the official involvement of Adidas, is one thing. To target small businesses and consumers who should be able to take advantage of having the games on their doorstep is another thing altogether and one that is possibly not in the spirit of ‘togetherness’ that we are told characterises this event.
And with London 2012 being the first ‘social Olympics,’ what of social media activity? Twitter and the like present a huge opportunity for sponsors, but also a big risk. Take McDonalds, for example. With an imposing presence right in the middle of the Olympic Park, and a captive audience of hundreds of thousands, the sales opportunity is immense. But, it only takes consumers to start expressing anger, disappointment or disbelief at anything from prices to the length of the queues for the positive to turn into a negative that can escalate at speed.
So, as we all settle down to enjoy a summer of sport, spare a thought for those officially involved for whom the coming weeks may turn out to be some of their most stressful….and I’m not talking about the athletes!