Sunday, August 5, 2012

Outsmarting the Olympic Po-Po

On my commute home I pass a home with topiaries shaped like people—two adults and a child— that they decorate to suite the season and holiday. Not unlike the geese people dress up on their front stoops. 

Though this is way too cheesy and ridiculous for me, I'm often impressed by the creativity shown in their landscape dressings. My personal favorite was when the topiary family was all hula hooping. 

Today, the family held up the Olympic rings (also made from hula hoops). As I drove by, my first thought was "uh-oh, don't let the Olympic branding police* catch you."

Did you hear about the butcher who had to remove a bunch of sausages in the shape of the Olympic rings? Or the florist's shop who had to take down their tissue paper window display. Apparently these violated a law governing the use of Olympic words and images. 
Once again, Coca-Cola is the official Olympic sponsor. Apparently you can't buy, sell, or even carry Pepsi within the Olympic Village. 

When did the Olympics become**a bidding match—an opportunity to cash in on glory? The spirit of the Olympics should first and foremost be one of passion, strength and pure love of sport. 

I applaud this work, done by London design firm Rizon, stating their position as "Unofficial Supporters of Sport, not Sponsorship." 

Hooray for Nike, for recognizing that the Olympics aren't about corporate sponsorships and deep pockets, but about national pride and individual greatness. Their perfectly timed release of this campaign, is a worthy celebration of everyday athletes.... and a sly maneuver past Olympic regulations. Right in the face of rival brand, and Olympic sponsor, Adidas.

I'm not an Olympic fanatic, (and if you just read my Color Run recap you've realized I'm also not that (athletically) competitive), but even I realize that this is a noble tradition and there's an integrity to the event that should be upheld. 

Here's to USA swimmer Missy Franklin who's won 4 medals, and who turned down millions in endorsements so she could remain an amateur and swim for her senior year. This is what it should be about–Missy is swimming because she loves to swim, not because she wants her face in the cereal aisle. I applaud her AND her parents, for allowing her to stay 17 long enough to have a senior year. 

*avoid the branding police with these tips from CNN Money!
**and when did Olympic logo design become so ugg-o?

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