The London 2012 velodrome was officially unveiled on Tuesday to universal media acclaim. Quite right too: it is a stunning creation. The media coverage also confirmed that the velodrome has already acquired a widespread media nickname because of its distinctive roof: the Pringle.
To those of us who work in Olympic marketing, this is more than somewhat ironic. Without paying a penny, courtesy of the media, Pringles has annexed a priceless piece of Olympic real estate.
Famously, the IOC keeps the Olympics as a spectacle free of brand names and presence: this is key to the Games’ DNA. Not that the spectacle actually is brand-free of course. There are the equipment manufacturers’ logos on every athlete’s clothing and footwear, and the branding and clocks of the official timekeeper Omega are very visible. But it’s pretty close.
This ban on branding extends to all buildings used for Olympic events. Thus, for the period of the Games, the O2 will be de-branded and given a neutral name. Whatever it’s called, we’ll all still call it ‘The O2’ of course: you can’t turn the clock back. But BT, and none of the other London 2012 sponsors, wouldn’t have signed up without this type of protection – and let’s not forget the global and domestic sponsors are together providing close to £2billion – 18% – of London 2012’s funding.
Which brings me to the second irony: the Pringles brand is actually owned by one of the global sponsors of the Olympics, Procter & Gamble. What a nice bonus this is for them: it will be interesting to see if they take extra advantage of their good fortune.
So, will ‘The Pringle’ stick? Will it spread from a media nickname (coined by PA reporter Helen William, according to this blog by BBC London’s Olympics Correspondent Adrian Warner) into the consumer mainstream? Only time will tell.
One thing’s for sure: if the powers that be decide, as expected, to sell the naming rights to the velodrome after the Games, I have a feeling I know who they’ll call first.
By Tim Crow on February 23rd, 2011
Tags: Brand marketing, Cycling, Default, Design, London 2012, London 2012 sponsorship, London 2012 sponsorship consultants, Naming Rights, Olympic sponsorship, Olympic sponsorship consultants, Olympics, Sponsorship, Team GB