VIDEO: Public reaction to brands around the Olympic torch relay

By Sarah Rowland,, Tuesday, 24 July 2012 09:00AM

As the Olympic torch relay reached London's Crystal Palace yesterday, accompanied by presenting partners Samsung, Coca-Cola and Lloyds TSB, we asked the public for their opinions on the branded entourage.

Lloyds was the first brand to sign up as a top tier domestic sponsor of the Games, committing an £80m sum in 2007.

Coca-Cola and Samsung are two of the 11 'Top' sponsors who have collectively paid a reported $957m to the International Olympic Committee around the 2012 Games.

The torch is carried through high streets, residential areas and parks by an army of selected individuals who have made significant contributions to their communities and country.

Onlookers waiting to see the torch are first met with the three sponsors' branded buses which aim to get the crowd pumped up and ready to cheer on the approaching runner.

Samsung arrives with representatives handing out flags and clappers, Coca-Cola follows with on-board stocks of its soft drink and Lloyds rolls past handing out ribbons.

Onlooker Alexander Accra said of the brands' activity: "The sponsors are doing a great job of motivating everybody."

Most of those asked agreed that the brands' presence was a welcome energy boost to signal the torch was approaching.

Peter Grant, a resident of Crystal Palace out walking his dog during the events, said: "I liked the free bottle of Coca-Cola and Samsung clappers, they’re fun and everyone quite enjoys that.

"I don’t think they are controversial brands that people have too many problems with."

There was some disagreement over whether the branding was too prominent. The Harlock family said they would have expected more sponsorship presence, particularly in a key sporting area such as Crystal Palace Park and Leisure Centre.

However, mother Alessandra Wilmot, said: "It could have been a bit more subtle. As parents you need to be careful". But she also acknowledged the need to attract sponsors to pay for all the activity.

There was also some confusion over which brands were official Olympic sponsors with one spectator surprised not to see any Aviva activity, a long time sponsor of British athletics although not a partner of London 2012.

Video produced by Sarah Johnson.

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