Isn’t “The Olympics” a brand already?

I thought about skipping completely over this storm-in-a-teacup over the 2012 London Games logo. It’s silly, it apparently causes seizures, and it’s the talk of the town. The BBC has a nice feature of reader-generated logos pretty much any of which would be less embarassing than the one they chose. But to me, far more humiliating than the logo itself are the things important people said about it at the launch:

  • “This is the vision at the very heart of our brand,” said London 2012 organising committee chairman Seb Coe.
  • “When people see the new brand, we want them to be inspired to make a positive change in their life.
  • “This is an iconic brand that sums up what London 2012 is all about – an inclusive, welcoming and diverse Games that involves the whole country. (blogger’s note: well, the whole country except those who might suffer seizures from seeing the “brand”)

OK, so since when did this become a “brand” and not a “logo”? I resort, as usual to the dictionary, where I find that definition one for “logo” sounds about right: a graphic representation or symbol of a company name, trademark, abbreviation, etc., often uniquely designed for ready recognition. “Brand” is more tricky, definition one is: kind, grade, or make, as indicated by a stamp, trademark, or the like: the best brand of coffee. But even more amusingly, and in this case accurately, definition four: any mark of disgrace; stigma.

I have two comments for the powers that be here. (1) Whose idea was it to run the training course before the launch, in which you instructed everyone to dutifully say “brand” and not “logo”? Good job, they all appear to be truly indoctrinated in saying it, but they sound silly. (2) Seriously, every time someone in a suit getting paid six figures for something says that it will appeal to “young people” you should immediately cancel the contract on account of their being clueless. It’s almost a guarantee that someone who says that and acts with that motivation will be, almost by definition, hopelessly ill-informed about the actual youth culture in this or any country, and about to make you the laughingstock of the whole world. Good job, London 2012.

Update: more 2012 alternative logos in the video here.

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2 responses to “Isn’t “The Olympics” a brand already?

  1. This guy must really hate his life =(

    All these people making fun of him, we may not see him designing anything soon.

  2. The “brand” thing is not London; it’s international. They use brand because it encompasses a whole range of things, from the official logo to the city logo to the mascots to event the name of the event. I’m not sure when the word “brand” came into common usage here, but it is all over the world – Beijing has been talking about it for years.

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