A mistake of Olympic proportions.
Legally, I’m not allowed to use the ‘O-word,’ I’m not allowed to show the five rings. Or the official logo. Or, if this were a podcast or video blog, to play the theme music that one associates with the, uh,…big event that’s going on in London these next few weeks.
See, the promoters, stewards and powers that be of the…athletic competition started by the Greeks many centuries ago…insist on having a stranglehold on the branding elements surrounding the…event….and jealously guard them the way the military guards Fort Knox. The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) intention is to protect those elements so that only official sponsors can use them, thus making their multi-million dollar sponsorships of the…big show…even more valuable.
That’s all well and good. If McDonald’s is an official sponsor, they should be able to cash in big time. But what the IOC is imposing on participants this time around is a bit of a head scratcher. Basically, they are trying to impose the kind of Draconian rules reserved for use of the Olympian graphic elements to the athletes’ and insiders’ use of social media during the games.
No posting photos to Facebook. No uploading videos to YouTube. No tweeting “in the third person” (tweeting about fellow athletes or competitors).
As logical as this might sound to the IOC (who wants its social media hub to be the only outlet for content), to anyone who knows social media at all, this is ridiculous. I can’t keep my teenager from texting at a restaurant. And you expect to keep some Albanian swimmer from posting a photo of Michael Phelps to his Facebook page?
And what happens when the high-jumper from Papau tweets about his teammates? Does the IOC sic their hordes of lawyers on the poor guy, and banish him from all future competition (now THAT will generate positive word of mouth…)?
While I’m sure the IOC is going to do a rocking job with their social media hub, it’s going to feel too controled. Something will be missing: an authentic interface with the athletes themselves. The unadulterated transparency that leads to authentic engagement.
As unnatural as it feels to the IOC to back off and let things just happen, that’s exactly what this year’s, uh,…big games,…could use. The primary goal of the IOC shouldn’t be to totally control the “O” brand, it should be to turn the event into a real-time event that can be enjoyed and talked about by everyone in the world, including the athletes themselves.
Let the games begin.
Posted by Mickey
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