The Olympic Marketing Police can do all they like about cracking down on use of Olympic messaging or brand icons by non-sponsors (their ‘statutory marketing rights’ document is 61 pages long), but brands who aren’t on the official roster are still going to be associated with London 2012 by the Great British Public.
As early as January this year non-sponsor Nike was the sports brand most associated with the event (I guess the assumption being that as the biggest and shoutiest sports brand surely they’d have got involved) and as of early May, over the pond ‘non-affiliated marketers’ took 27 of the top 50 spots measuring effective brand activation.
As consumers of marketing messages, we just aren’t wired to carefully shift through looking for official logos and Olympic endorsed endlines. We connect with the campaigns that talk about national pride, and celebrating great endeavours, i.e. what the Olympics are all about.
Everyone is saying nice things at the moment about P&G’s ‘Proud Sponsor of Mums’ official Olympic campaign, but I’m not sure that come flag waving time what we must now refer to as a ‘John Lewis approach’ is going to cut through. I think the winners are going to be brands that talk about pride and celebration – and handily, no-one has slapped a ban on gratuitous use of union jacks yet (so long as they’re not held by an athlete).
In contrast, the Diamond Jubilee logo can be downloaded free off the royal website (complete with brand guidelines) and it seems that so long as you don’t put it on a teapot without asking nicely first or imply HMQ’s direct endorsement then at least individuals and non-profits can do what they like with it. Top marks, ma’am.