As our class from George Washington University visited London, certain individuals have felt that the city has not done enough decoration to make it look like the Olympic Games are being played here. According to those who have been to other Summer Games, Beijing and Atlanta were plastered with Olympic images throughout the city. Today we found out why London looks different than the other cities.
At our visit to FutureBrand, a affiliate of the McCann World Group that is responsible for the London 2012 brand, we learned that while Beijing spent 45 billion pounds on the 2008 Games, London has only spent 9 billion. Additionally, LOCOG has left it up to the individual boroughs of London to decorate their streets. Finally, in Beijing, the Chinese utilized Olympic signage to block or cover up undesirable entities in the city. FutureBrand has made it very clear that this is not the case in London. The brand agency's view is "only put look where you want people to look."
All of these factors combined to make a statement that though the city is proud to host a successful Olympics, this Olympics is only one part of London's successful summer. At the end of the day, I find it fairly refreshing that I am not inundated with the Olympic brand. Additionally, as a consumer who is concerned with sustainability and legacy, I am impressed by London 2012's decision.
And speaking of contrasts ...
** So far I have had the pleasure of going to two events: a soccer match at Wembley Stadium, and a beach volleyball at Horse Grounds Parade (a stadium near Buckingham Palace). The difference in the atmosphere of the two events was astounding.
The attendance at Wembley was around 76,000 people for the North Korea-Gabon game I attended. For the most part, the announcers left the crowd to its own devices. There were claps for good plays, random calls for cheers, and a wave here and there, but for the most part the atmosphere was fairly subdued. Maybe it was because being a soccerfan is such a normal thing in Europe, the announcers left the fans alone.
The beach volleyball game was a totally different atmosphere. The announcers would have different sections of the arena do different cheers at frequent intervals. The music was up-tempo, and the energy was incredibly high. The stadium only holds around 20,000, so the waves done by the crowd were quick and frequent. There were cheerleaders in bikinis (although it was quite chilly) that came out and danced periodically. The most important thing is that whatever the announcer called for you to do, they (the announcer) did themselves, so the fans really got in to it.
Maybe it is because beach volleyball is less known or maybe it is because we got to see powerhouse Brazil play Spain, but the involvement of the announcers at the Horse Grounds Stadium made the experience that much better.
-- MARK BUENTE