The Olympics has made me furious. Stupid Olympics.
Stupid Olympics with its massively spiralling budget during what is supposedly our ‘age of austerity’.
Stupid Olympics with the incredible strain it’ will put on London’s already creaky and massively overwhelmed infrastructure.
Stupid Olympics with its rooftops missiles, incompetent security arrangements and total disregard for the fact that ordinary people with ordinary jobs and ordinary lives need to actually be able to ‘do stuff’.
Stupid, smelly, hateful, horrid Olympics.
But what has actually made me furious is the fact that the stupid Olympics has entirely won me over. Those fiends.
I watched the opening ceremony fully prepared to sneer, scoff and rather gleefully empty out the vast buckets of scorn I had been steadily accumulating over the past seven years. How devastating it was to find myself totally and utterly captivated. Stupid Danny Boyle.
Even from someone who lives his life deep within the shadowy soul of the cynical marketing industry, I found it impossible to maintain my own enormous levels of scepticism in the face of such an overwhelmingly joyous celebration.
The fuel for the discontent for a good deal of Olympic cynics like myself has a great deal to do with the stories of Draconian marketing restrictions that have engulfed London 2012.
Tales of an Orwellian army of secret snoopers hunting down and stamping out even the most benign or tenuous references to the Games has left a bitter taste – both within and outside of the industry.
Whether the benefits of being an official sponsor outweigh the accusations of ‘brand fascism’ that are now associated to some of the Olympics’ larger corporate partners is debatable. In terms of immediate sales they may have bagged a gold medal. In terms of brand affinity they may have unintentionally stabbed themselves in the neck with their own javelin.
Despite this, the one undeniable marketing triumph is that of the Games themselves. Take a bow Mr Boyle, Mr Bond, Mr Bean, Mr Beckham (not a hair out of place even as he piloted a speedboat down the Thames. Stupid perfect hair.) And, of course, the Old Lady herself. First class parachuting, Ma’am.
And if a marketing event – for that is essentially what the ceremony was – can utterly change the mindset of a snarling, seething curmudgeon like me, I can only imagine the effect it had on those who were far more open to the possibilities and excitement of London 2012.
I am so very ashamed I am off to rap myself repeatedly in the shins with my own newly purchased ‘Team GB’ flag. Stupid shins.
Andrew Boulton is a copywriter at the Together Agency
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