Opinions - LOCOG: Lots Of Confusion Overshadows Games?


by Ashley Morrison



So the Olympic opening ceremony is a week away and I, for one, am really rather excited. Yes, yes, I know it's all very trendy to want to flee the capital during the mayhem that will ensue (for that, read "I'm ticked off that I didn't win any tickets in the ballot"); it's rather like people claiming to hate the Jubilee and then spending the Saturday night in watching the concert outside Buckingham Palace for the sole purpose of being able to slag it off.

As for me, I can't wait.


Mind you, I'm just as British as the next...Brit, and I do like a good moan. Well, I say that, but I'm not too militant a moaner. I'm not like some people I know, who are happiest only when they've got something to complain about, however trivial. If they can blame an institution for something, show them anything resembling a bandwagon and they'll jump right on it. I'm a bit more liberal in my approach but there are limits.

For instance, take this security malarkey. I can't believe it's only now that the police and the military have been brought in to sort out the multi-million pound mess left by G4S. To my mind, snipers at the very least should have been brought in back in 2004 when G4S murdered Bohemian Rhapsody on X Factor. Come on, guys, the writing was on the wall...

Anyway, yesterday morning, I had a bit of a shock while listening to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4. Lord Coe whom I happen to like told John Humphreys that spectators would not be able to enter the Olympic venues if they were wearing a Pepsi T-shirt. And would only "probably" be all right if they were wearing Nike trainers.

Huh? Come again? Say what now? Are you frickin' kidding me, Mr Bigglesworth? And, in the booming, register-spanning voice of Brian Blessed... "Ooooowwwwhaaaaaaattt?!"

The reason, apparently, is that it might upset Coca-Cola and Adidas two of the main sponsors of the London 2012 Olympic Games and they had to be protected. (As an aside, don't you just love the fact that McDonald's is in that sponsorship mix too? Has nobody in LOCOG seen Supersize Me?! Mind you, Usain Bolt did apparently eat chicken nuggets before breaking his last record).

But hang on. Lord Coe said: "You probably would be able to walk through with Nike trainers." PROBABLY. So what if the security person, whoever they may be, is a jobsworth or having a bad day? The spectator would get turned away for having a big tick on their shoe?

I nearly crashed my car right then and there out of sheer confusion and bemusement. The idea that Joe Public can't wear a T-shirt with a Pepsi logo on it or Nike trainers among the most popular in the world is ridiculous. I checked the bumf in my own Olympic pack which came with my volleyball tickets. Nothing in there about what not to wear. The only thing I found on the official website relating to clothing is under the Restricted Items section: "Any objects or clothing bearing political statements or overt commercial identification intended for ambush marketing."

And there, in those last two words, lies the problem. Ambush marketing is or was a very real problem. As one might guess, ambush marketing is where a group of people or an influential person unexpectedly promotes a brand which they aren't supposed to. In 1996 at the Atlanta Games, Linford Christie wore contact lenses during a press conference where the Puma logo could be seen during close-ups. At the same Games, naughty Nike handed out flags with their logo on them, which sent official sponsors Reebok into a right old tizzy. Understandable, really, when the infringement is organised in that fashion, and when (in 2012) sponsors have spent up to to support the Games.

As it happens, LOCOG have now come out and confirmed that Lord Coe's statements were inaccurate. Individuals CAN wear Pepsi T-shirts and Nike trainers, because clearly the rules for individuals are different than for athletes and for organised groups.

But even then, there have been a few jobsworth cases. You know we all pretended to watch the Olympic torch bearers touring through the UK? Well, apparently there was a cafe on the route which cheerfully sold "flaming torch breakfast baguettes;" they were promptly asked to stop doing so, ironically giving them even more publicity than had LOCOG not kicked up a fuss in the first place. But also, is that not simply mean spirited of LOCOG? The cafe staff were just entering into the spirit of national pride and Olympic build-up excitement and they were hardly making millions out of the promotion.

I hope the only tape we talk about from next week onwards is to do with athletes, medals and new world records. But if it's of the red variety, LOCOG may well end up looking like an over-protective parent on sports day.

Oh, and GO TEAM GB!

Ashley Morrison is a copywriter, blogger and editor.

Twitter: @Ashley_Morrison


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