London 2012 Branding

Every 4 years the world gathers to celebrate the spirit of camaraderie and promote peace through competitive athletic competitions during the Olympic games. I barely raise an eyebrow. Its not that I don’t agree with or relate to values promoted in the Olympic spirit, I just have every little to relate to in the games themselves. The Olympic committee for the 2012 Games is trying to change that, and they kicked it off with the unveiling of the ugliest logo ever imaginable.

London Logo

You may be thinking that me referring to the logo as being “ugly” is hardly constructive criticism. You are right. But it is how thousands of people around the world are referring to it, not just on major network news programming but on blogs and in e-mail lists. One of the defining differences in a logo versus a piece of art work is that it should communicate a common message to be effective. It seems to me based on my research the message this logo is carrying is “Look at me, I am an ugly Logo”.

I am on the Art Directors Club of Metro Washington DC’s mailing list. For about 2 days straight this logo was the topic of lots of conversation. Most of it revolving around the possibility that this logo was developed to appeal to a younger audience. A younger audience not represented on the list. Others carefully critiqued it’s ability to remain timeless and how with different renderings of the number “2″ it does not have a consistent visual vocabulary. While I agree with a lot of this criticism, the comment that struck me most was…

“What we should be discussing is how the firm that put that together was able to sell it to those writing the check. Yes, it’s bad design, but boy is it great salesmanship!”.

This got me thinking about the idea that the studio behind this logo possibly sold a lot more than just a a visual mark or even brand. It sold the idea that making such a non traditional visual representation of the Olympics would stir up talk about the Olympics, and what the Olympics mean. What if the studio behind this brand wanted to leverage word of mouth to reach those who hardly raise an eyebrow to the Olympics. Those who are so deeply submerged in their daily lives that the traditional media coverage and broadcast television is just background noise to them. Creating a stir through a non-traditional brand would be a very effective way to reach this audience.

I purposed this idea to my mom, who saw a segment about the whole stir on a morning show. She thought it highly unlikely that a group of people at a studio were sitting around thinking that deeply into this scenario. I told her that I had no way of knowing, but isn’t it interesting that her and I were having a conversation with the word “Olympics” in it for the first time since I was 10 years old.

[tags]London Olympic Logo, 2012 Olympics, ADCMW[/tags]


  1. — June 18, 2007

  2. — June 22, 2007

  3. Shane Rein

    — July 14, 2007