The Olympic Games have gone off their rocker.
[NOTE: I wrote this years ago, before the Olympic Games started doing even dumber things. Just look up Tokyo Olympics 2020 for all the examples you need.]
The games once celebrated the common bonds nations and their people could find in sport. Sure, jingoism and politics sometimes derailed that goal. But largely, it brought people together and gave a platform to the more obscure sport events.
Commercialism in its worst form — a strain of product-hawking lunacy that’s crossed the line into stemming the flow of ideas. Olympic Games organizers call it the “Brand Exclusion Zone.”
If you’re in this Brand Exclusion Zone, don’t show up to a venue with your ticket and your Nike shirt. See, adidas is a sponsor. So they have exclusive rights, apparently, to be the only sports apparel seen in the Brand Exclusion Zone.
Oh, and I hope you like McDonald’s. It will be the only “branded food outlet” in the Brand Exclusion Zone. Kind of an odd pairing with the Olympic Games, right?
Here’s the logic:
Brands like adidas and McDonald’s pay big bucks to sponsor the Olympics. Therefor, brands who don’t pony up shouldn’t reap any benefits. This, you get an abomination of the logic/decency continuum like the Olympic Games Brand Exclusion Zone.
The London Olympics Committee is not intelligent to realize something: Heavy-handed attempts to control people results in backlash. There will be guerrilla protests, and you will see a lot of creative people thwart the attempted thought control of Olympic organizers. The Olympics Games and its “Brand Police” will look like wanna be-totalitarian buffoons – Advertising Age has already written that its restrictions are worse than those enacted by China at the last Summer Olympic Games.
And you’ll see those of us who won’t be there do something worse: We’ll forgo tuning into the 2012 Olympic Games.
Look, Olympic poo-bahs and honchos … I’m not asking for a return to naked oiled-up dudes wrestling. But I want sport and culture to come first. I want marketing to come in dead last. If that means less pomp and ceremony, so be it.
I’ll be back when you get it right. And not a second sooner.
This post just might contain affiliate links. Fear not, they’re non-spammy and benign. Hey, I have to keep this thing running somehow!