At a recent seminar attended by team Handstand, the host investment bank’s global marketing director (a slightly foul-mouthed but engaging individual) assured his audience that in spite of the characteristic public apathy towards celebrating success in this country, we would be swelling with national pride in the run up to the Olympics. I suspect he is right; after all we love a ceremony in these isles. Yet less than 130 days away from Boris and Lizzie cutting the opening ribbon, I’m struck by the lack of fanfare and tickertape around the capital, so close to the event.
Talk of gridlock and priority VIP traffic lanes aside, that collective wave of emotion for biggest party in town is curiously absent. Is it the puzzling and uninspiring Olympic logo and branding (Lisa Simpson in a compromising position, is the best description we’ve heard)..? Is it an economic cynicism borne out of the times we live in? Or is it the Queen’s diamond jubilee which has more relevance to a nation that can’t quite decide whether it loves the monarchy or its sporting icons more…?
Certainly ramping up the marketing drive for the Olympics has been a slow burner. Newspapers have a daily countdown and the sports pages focus on our swimming, cycling and rowing medal prospects. Yet other media and their advertising streams must think that we’re not yet in the moment. I find this really puzzling. A once in a lifetime event, so massively impactful is still a remote event happening in a clearing in east London. Where’s the razzmatazz , the party and the pride..?
The Olympic rings are hanging at St Pancras station – such a wonderful place – but I haven’t noticed much other display in public places of the biggest brand on the planet. At least the Olympic athletes travelling down from the Midlands will know they’ve come to the right place.