Tuesday, 31 July 2012

London 2012 and corporate sponsorship

 

   Whoops - I've just remembered we're not supposed to use the words 'London 2012'  except as an official sponsor of the games, which clearly I'm not.


I have to say I find this slightly ridiculous - both London and 2012 are commonly used words and together could refer to many different things.  And it's just one example of rather heavy handed support for the games' corporate sponsors (another is the #wedemandchange movement).  It also seems particularly odd given the background of amateur involvement and spirit of competitiveness at the centre of the games.

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PR Benefits?

 

I also wonder about the real value that the sponsors get from all this.  I can't say booking my tickets with a Visa card has made me any more likely to prefer this to Mastercard (and it's also annoyed many who had to take a new card for this particular purpose - and who will, I'm sure, promptly cut it up at the end of the games).

 

Similarly with McDonalds - though the value of the meals, even without the opportunity to 'go large', was considerably higher than the other outlets, and sort of made up for the mega queues.

 

While I'm on the subject - what planet is Panasonic on?  Having people wait 50 minutes for a very short 3D film of the opening ceremony interspersed with a dozen adverts for Panasonic, followed by an 'opportunity' to view their products, is NOT smart.  Coca-Cola does slightly better with their panel thing, but their estimates of the queue lengths are dismal.

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I thought Cisco did a lot better than any of these - their Games Face device is a lot of fun, and you even get emailed a picture after the event.  Absolutely not in-your-face advertising like Panasonic, but much more likely to leave you with a positive impression of the company.  And not as extreme as building a 115m high sculpture / tower, though this was fun and provided a great view over the stadium and rest of the park - so thanks Arcelor Mittal - but I'd have put my £16m somewhere else.

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Employee Benefits?

 

I suppose part of the benefits that sponsors are hoping to gain some from increased engagement of their employees.  This was certainly the argument put forward by BT, Sainsbury's and Kraft Foods in a session I saw called 'The Olympics as a Catalyst for People Involvement and Development' at the HR Directors Business Summit this year.

 

I, and I know a lot of other people, weren't convinced.  Wouldn't it just be a lot simpler, and certainly cheaper, to let staff take time off for Olympics events, perhaps have office parties / events linked to these, and otherwise work to increase motivation?

 

 

Other Benefits?

 

So if not these benefits what are the real reasons companies sponsor these events? Could it be anything to do with the opportunity for execs to get premium tickets for the most in-demand events perhaps?

 

Whatever the reasons, I'd like to see less sponsorship (and certainly less heavy handedness).  Of course, this would require a different model for running the games but perhaps that would be no bad thing - meaning no zil lanes for example.  That would require athletes to get themselves to events on time, just like the rest of us - and why shouldn't they have to do this?

 

One of the highlights of Danny Boyle's Opening Ceremony for me was the inclusion of the audience in the performance through the use of pixel tablets.  And I do love all the wizardry of the modern Olympics, but it'd be great to see a more broadly inclusive games - including letting everyone refer to the title of the games!

 

 

 

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