Commercial control and risks to public opinion are a potential source of tension as the Olympics nears. For example, there are reports that LOCOG’s exclusive deal with Visa required the closure of a number of ATMs at a number of venues for London 2012 (this in particular affected facilities at place in pre-existing venues). On a visit to Vancouver around around the time of the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, I had a similar experience as the official Olympic shop in the Hudson Bay Co. in downtown Vancouver only accepted Visa for merchandise, any my own brand of plastic was not accepted (of course, cash still works!). This sort of commercial tie-up is to be expected given the vast sums paid by commercial partners for exclusive rights to be associated to the Games. Indeed, this logic underpins the strict policing of the use of names, words, marks, logos and designs relating to London 2012 and the Olympic movement. Given the need to recoup the substantial costs of the event through the auctioning of commercial privilege to business, the maximisation of revenue is likely to often come into tension with public perception of the Games, often fuelled through quite minor stories, such as reports that beer served at Olympic venues will cost £7.23 a pint (which is not minor if you like beer, but quite typical when the standard cost of alcoholic drinks at concert/entertainment venues in London is taken into account). It also comes into tension with smaller firms, unable to afford the exorbitant sums required to secure an Olympic tie-up, complaining that they risk being squeezed out by restrictive controls.
Posted by: olymponomics | June 5, 2012
When brand protection and reputation management clash….
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