Have Olympic organisers gone too far by taping over logos on toilets? The Marketing Society Forum

Have Olympic organisers gone too far by taping over logos on toilets? The Marketing Society Forum

London 2012 chiefs are masking corporate branding on facilities at stadia ahead of the Games.

YES - VIKI COOKE, CO-FOUNDER, BRITAIN THINKS

When I read this piece I had to check the date. Of course, sponsors have invested substantially and their rights need to be protected, but I sincerely doubt that the great sponsoring brands feel threatened by the branding on loo rolls.

The Olympics provides a great chance for the UK to feel proud.

In a recent 'time capsule' poll the Olympics was the third most-cited event in terms of having the biggest impact on respondents' lives (after World War II and 9/11).

Taping over logos on urinals feels small-minded and petty; the exact opposite of the ambitions and aspirations that made the London bid successful. I can imagine Thomas Crapper turning in his grave at the thought.

NO - MARK JOY, GROUP MARKETING DIRECTOR, FAST TRACK

I admit it doesn't sound good, but LOCOG must deliver a 'clean' Games environment that respects the rights of sponsors. To allow other brands to benefit is not viable nor desirable.

It might have taken action to secure unbranded 'white ware', in advance, but that aside, it has no choice.

Ever since the notorious Nike Village in Atlanta, organisers have needed a 'zero tolerance' approach to protect sponsors and, in turn, the commercial future of the Olympics and other quadrennial events.

Even now, guerilla marketing at London 2012 is to be expected; presumably LOCOG is doing its best to flush out what it can, in advance.

YES - KRISTOF FAHY, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, WILLIAM HILL

Has basic common sense disappeared when it comes to the Olympics? Who comes up with this stuff?

I suspect there may be a special committee. Yes, brands that have made significant investments to own a category want and should expect protection. That is only right.

But toilet-roll holders, urinals, a bench, light bulbs? Surely a line has to be drawn somewhere.

One possibility is that this is a grand plan by the IOC to open up a whole new host of sponsorship categories to launch after the 2012 Olympics. William Hill will offer you 100/1; official urinal provider, anyone?

NO - DREW NICHOLSON, JOINT MANAGING DIRECTOR, DNX

Clarity and consistency have underpinned the London 2012 Games. From day one LOCOG has, to its credit, been clear that it would protect sponsors' interests.

Brands have paid handsomely to be associated with the Olympics, and they are being protected.

To appreciate LOCOG's decision, one need look no further than the 1984 Olympics, when official sponsor Fujifilm had to contend with Kodak sponsoring TV broadcasts and the US track team.

MAYBE - CLARE BAKER, MARKETING DIRECTOR, ABSOLUTE RADIO

Any Olympic sponsor will want their brand to have as much stand out as possible, and games organisers to police any competitor brands who haven’t paid to support the Olympics.

As marketers, we would like to believe that a logo however small, has a subliminal impact on a consumers choice. However, sponsors are better placed to focus on all the amazing events that are going to take place, and ensure that official brands play an integral part in making the Olympics memorable to the nation.  Badging exercises don’t tell anyone anything about your brand or give consumers a reason to engage with you.

 

Each week Forum questions members of The Marketing Society on a hot topic. For more information on membership, visit www.marketing-society.org.uk