This is the press release for the new London 2012 olympics logo.
It is a great example of why PR for marketing activities is not a good idea.
Announcing a new advertising campaign, logo or direct mail campaign, for example, is generally only of interest to the client’s marketing department and other luvvies reading Marketing magazine or Campaign.
Of course, the marketing director and CEO – not to mention the agencies involved – will want the world to marvel over their collective, creative genius. But my advice is that PR practitioners should refuse to do such “bling” campaigns where the goal is just to promote the marketing activity. Public relations can certainly help achieve marketing objectives (such as increasing sales) or be part of an integrated marketing campaign – but PR for marketing is just wrong.
The hype before the “launch” of the 2012 logo was huge – bloggers and media contacts were trailed the announcement in advance, this was going to be big news:
New brand and vision revealed for London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. New brand aims to inspire everyone to embrace the Olympic spirit – and make 2012 ‘Everyone’s Games’.
The minute you start to plug the marketing rather than the product, you are asking for comment or criticism of the creative merits. The work had better be as good as the Skoda cake advert [See YouTube video] – or you are in trouble.
More evidence comes when you have to explain that “The new Olympic emblem is based on the number 2012 – the year of the Games” and that it “includes the Olympic Rings, one of the world’s most recognised brands, and the word ‘London’ – the world’s most diverse city”.
Then there are the adjectives – another sign of a floundering press release:
The powerful, modern emblem symbolises the dynamic Olympic spirit and its inspirational ability to reach out to people all over the world.
Cue the trite quote (just the first of many of course):
“London 2012 will be Everyone’s Games, everyone’s 2012. This is the vision at the very heart of our brand. It will define the venues we build and the Games we hold and act as a reminder of our promise to use the Olympic spirit to inspire everyone and reach out to young people around the world. It is an invitation to take part and be involved,” said London 2012 Chairman, Sebastian Coe.
“We will host a Games where everyone is invited to join in because they are inspired by the Games to either take part in the many sports, cultural, educational and community events leading up to 2012 or they will be inspired to achieve personal goals,” he added.
And it doesn’t stop there – unfortunately. Personally, I am getting a sense of the Millennium Dome as I read on…
London 2012 will be a Games for a connected world making the most of exciting new technology to get people closer to the action they want to see, when, where and how they want to experience it.
The new emblem is dynamic, modern and flexible reflecting a brand savvy world where people, especially young people, no longer relate to static logos but respond to a dynamic brand that works with new technology and across traditional and new media networks.
It will become London 2012’s visual icon, instantly recognisable amongst all age groups, all around the world. It will establish the character and identity of the London 2012 Games and what the Games will symbolise nationally and internationally.
Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell continues (I’ll spare you offerings from Mayor Ken et al):
“This is an iconic brand that sums up what London 2012 is all about – an inclusive, welcoming and diverse Games that involves the whole country. It takes our values to the world beyond our shores, acting both as an invitation and an inspiration. This is not just a marketing logo, but a symbol that will become familiar, instantly recognisable and associated with our Games in so many ways during the next five years.”
It is a squiggly drawing people – it is just a marketing logo and that’s how it should be treated. If you have to have one, design it, use it, but don’t “launch” it to the world like it matters.
The thousands of blog comments on the BBC (compared oddly no comments on the London 2012 blog) show the people of Britain are not impressed – who thought they would be interested in a dynamic, flexible logo for the Games – well clearly they care not for such innovation or inspiration. They are concerned about reported fee of £400,000 for design consultancy Wolff Ollins – even if it was “funded by private sources”.
When a key communications objective leading up to the London 2012 Games ought to be to demonstrate good financial management (given that the public have got the message that it has already gone pear-shaped) – then hooplah for a logo ain’t a good idea.
But of course, like it or not, we can rest easy that:
The unique new emblem already enjoys legal protection, offering London 2012 and its sponsors protection from copying and ambush marketing
In PR, when the marketing department ask you to promote their campaigns – the work had better be really amazing – or you should remind them there are times when it is best to say nothing at all and let the creative do the talking for itself.