Monday, July 9, 2012

London Gears Up for the Olympics

This weekend on my trip to London I snapped several photos of Olympic advertisements. Most we're installed to invoke excitement, gearing up the city for the games. We found these light post banners everywhere, stating "London 2012" and adorned with the iconic rings. One of the banners was even so bold as to quote "a nation will be inspired". 
But some of the advertisements we're not all that inspiring. I found Olympic ads that heavily included the support of Coca-Cola, quoting "Coke, the official sponsor of the Olypimc Games" and other similar gracious claims. These ads were plastered everywhere, from covering Tube station escalators and hallways, to bus stop posters, to window displays. To the unknowing tourist, these advertisements would look like more of the same above. They would fall into the "get excited for London Olympics!" category. But all I saw was the greatest execution of product placement. It made me realize how commercialized the Olympics, and dare I say the world has become. As an advertising major I know it's important to have sponsors to fund the games (the Olympics is not cheap) and the it is a genius move of the Coca-Cola Company to partner with the games (imagine the media coverage), but I wonder.... did they have sponsors in the first Greek games? Did the discus champions of ancient Greece have "Ya Ya's Home Grown Olives" posted on the back of their robes? How did such an international and time honored tradition become so commercial?

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