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?