Gearing up for London 2012

london2012Whatever you think of it, this symbol is one we’ll be seeing a great deal of in the coming weeks as London starts to gear up as host city of the 2012 Olympic Games in four years’ time.

When the 2012 logo was announced in June 2007, it attracted widespread criticism and dislike. I recall it being a topic of discussion from the PR and branding points of view in two episodes of the FIR podcast.

So today the Olympic mantle passed from Beijing to London, with the formal handover taking place during a spectacular closing ceremony. And it really was spectacular, the pinnacle of China’s investment in these 2008 games, reportedly some $40 billion overall. Serious money.

The ceremony included an excellent 10-minute segment about London. Metaphors abounded along with an iconic red London bus and commuters with umbrellas.

(Note that the links above to video on the BBC website can only be seen if you’re in the UK. Nothing I can do about that, sorry.)

The highlight undoubtedly was Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Leona Lewis with an updated version of the Zep’s classic track, Whole Lotta Love.

It was visually brilliant although the audio level and quality on TV were extremely disappointing, as if someone hasn’t plugged a cable in somewhere. What I heard was the audio from the stadium, ie, the sound wasn’t directly plugged in, so to speak, to the live television broadcast. What a pity.

I wondered on Twitter how long it would be before a video of Page and Lewis appeared on YouTube. Within minutes, I had the answer from Mitch Joel – from a TV viewer in Germany, it’s already there! (Aug 25: not unsurprisingly, perhaps, the video has now been taken down by YouTube citing copyright violation.)

So, Beijing concludes and the UK celebrates and prepares for the next Olympic games.

One good thing about the London 2012 logo is that you can do things with it. By that, I mean things like changing the colours perhaps to reflect something you prefer.

london2012alt I think the one above is a ghastly colour scheme: the version you see at left – the logo that was projected in the stadium in Beijing during the formal handover – is far better.

But that’s just my view.

One thing I would expect the London 2012 organizers to do would be to make it easy to get hold of a copy of the logo. But do they? No.

I couldn’t find a logo file for download from the image library or anywhere else on the 2012 website. What’s at the top of this page is a screen capture from the 2012 home page using Snagit.

I hope they get their marketing hats on pretty quickly to keep up with momentum as I would imagine that lots of people will be talking and writing about the 2012 Olympics in the coming days and weeks, and would like to include a logo.

In any event, be prepared for seeing the London 2012 logo, in whatever form, sooner or later.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Marc

    The use of the London 2012 logo and the Olympics rings symbol are protected by an two Act Of Parliaments:
    1. Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Act 1995
    2. London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act (2006)

    Full details as to the reasons why are at

    Here’s an extract:

    Why is protecting the London 2012 brand so important?
    The hundreds of millions of pounds necessary to organise the Games must be raised by the London 2012 Organising Committee from the private sector – by selling sponsorship, official merchandise and tickets.

    To raise the necessary revenue, the London 2012 Organising Committee must be able to give its sponsors an exclusive association to London 2012 and the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the UK. As such we must prevent other companies undertaking unauthorised activities which damage our sponsors’ exclusive rights.

    If anyone could use the ‘Games’ Marks’ (see below) for free, or otherwise create an association with the Games, sponsors and merchandise licensees would not want to invest in the Games.

    Similarly, uncontrolled or free use of the brand could damage its reputation and prestige.

  2. neville

    Yes, I read that text on the 2012 site, Marc, thanks.

    So what does it mean for a blogger like me? Prohibited from displaying the 2012 logo, as I have done? Hard to believe the 2012 organizers would intend no one to use the logo in the illustrative way I have, other than sponsors or others who’ve entered into some kind of contractual agreement.

    That would make little sense as surely it would be a good idea to have anyone talking about the 2012 games to be able to make use of those games’ symbol and thus increase its visibility.

    Here’s a bit more of the text from the page you quoted, relating to the ‘(see below)’ reference:

    The unauthorised use of any of the Games’ Marks (or any other marks or logos that are confusingly similar to, or likely to be mistaken for, them) is strictly prohibited.

    For example, without the London 2012 Organising Committee’s written consent, it is unlawful to use the Olympic symbol, the London 2012 logo or the mark ‘London 2012’ in the course of trade.

    So they cannot, for example, be used on goods, in business names, on business papers or in advertising.

    It is also unlawful, whether through the use of the Games’ Marks or otherwise, to falsely represent any association, affiliation, endorsement, sponsorship or similar relationship with London 2012, the British Olympic and/or Paralympic teams, or any other part of the Olympic and/or Paralympic Movements.

    Hardly the case here. I’d even say that my displaying the logo in this post constitutes fair dealing.

    But I may be wrong, in which case I’ll wait for the take-down notice.


  3. Marc E

    Glad you mentioned the Jimmy Page audio problem – I thought it was my TV audio on the blink, but it was soon apparent that there was some kind of feed/mixing deck problem, since the vocals were fine. If I were Page I’d be FURIOUS; I’d say the short segment was “very good”, but in a sense anything more than that, like “unbelievably spectactular”, would have been almost impossible to achieve given what Beijing had produced… and probably inappropriate in the circumstances. “Very good” in those circumstances is quite an achievement!

    Hey Neville, you should install our little ClustrMaps Geographical hit counter map widget in your blog gutter… email us and we’ll give you a free upgrade to ClustrMaps+ (better maps, no ads).

  4. Amelia

    Couple of links that you might be interested in:

    First up, from the Handover Party in the Mall

    Catch Up Lady is always a good read, she has an interesting take on how London is approaching 2012 from a Social Media perspective

    And I have to say that I think the union jack infill on the logo looks pretty good. In fact, dare I say it, I think that in years to come it’ll be a logo that we actually really like…

  5. neville

    Great pics, Amelia. And a great point in your post re flag-waving and patriotism. Always seems to me that such natural behaviour has been hijacked by the extremists, which is such a pity.

    And re the logo, yes, I agree re the Union Jack infill. A variation of the official logo and, I assume, officially supported as that’s the logo you saw on TV during the handover part of the closing ceremony.

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