Beijing, a deserved gold for branding.

Hundreds of thousands watched live. The rest of us, some 4.3 billion, that’s about 99.99% of the audience, watched on television. This is the audience that really mattered to Beijing.  How well did they do?

Most commentators were in agreement. They awarded ‘gold’ for the opening and closing ceremonies, gold for the stadia (and platinum for the Bird’s Nest), gold for the competition (a fast track and a fast pool), their athletes won most golds and to cap it all our, unfortunately named, Team GB won record gold haul, setting London up fantasically for 2012.

In my view Beijing deserved a further gold, for branding.

The full identity has three elements, a figurative icon, beneath this Beijing 2008 in a chinese script style, with the Olympic symbol at the base.  In practice, the dominant element by far, frequently used in isolation, was the Beijing 2008.  Reversed white out of deep blue or red, the Beijing identity dominated our  screens as if every camera had been positioned to do just this.

A reminder of the Beijing omnipresence. On perimeter boards everywhere. For diving, the bottom of the pool, edges of the boards, behind the poised divers and in the apparently mandatory shower area. For boxing on the canvas, on headgear and on the gloves. It was on the sides of yachts, gym ‘horses’, on hurdles and show jump fences, on finishing tapes and, of course, on the medal ribbons.

Sponsors try to asess exposure value with a formula that values the on screen visibility, presence and duration, against audience.  My guess would be that Beijing, as the dominant brand identity  had an exposure value in excess of £1,000,000.

It will be interesting to see how London handles it’s branding. The 2012 logo, in its familiar form, contains all the elments, London being the least significant. When the Games hit world screens in August,2012, will London be the dominant brand?

2 thoughts on “Beijing, a deserved gold for branding.

  1. nigel_palmer

    The same thought struck me: for all the miles of perimeter boarding around the fantastic stadia, the only brand logo was Beijing and the Olympic rings. How simple and effective.

    Contrast that with that most terrible of innovations, the digital perimeter board, which plagues Premier League football grounds. Amazingly they allow the display to move while the ball is in play, distracting the eye from the game and – my guess – infuriating consumers, who will quickly resent those brands which use it.

    London has already shown the direction it will go in: the event in the Mall that followed Beijing’s closing ceremony was branded the ‘Visa Party’.

    A headache-inducing kaleidoscope of clashing brands, fighting for space with London’s bizarre logo, seems most likely in 2012.

  2. mikemystery

    I reckon, by the time we get to 2012 the UK logo will be a time-honoured classic. It’s exactly the sort of “symbol of reappraisal” that Britain needs.

    Having seen the olympics fairly close-up (not as close as Mr Parker has of course 😉 I was very impressed: The equestrian evens were just down the road and the visual identity was everywhere.

    I think, to compete, what the uk needs to do is focus on humour and honesty.

    Despite the slickness of Beijing, what seemed to capture huge amounts of press was the percieved “cheating”. There seemed to be quite a lot of people just waiting for China to screw-up. Replacing the nine-year-old singer with a prettier face, the CGI footprint fireworks sequence, the “cheering squads” in the stadium, the live lambasting of the Chinese pistol shooter who ‘failed his country” with a Silver Medal.

    All these things hurt the Beijing brand (as it exists in the mind of teh consumer) where a little bit more honesty and “sportsmanship” would have been even more impressive.

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