Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Olympic Sponsors Parade, aka the Torch Relay

Went to the centre of Yeovil at crack of dawn today to watch the Olympic torch relay. First stop was bacon butties at the United Reformed Church, then we joined the growing crowds and waited.

After several local buses, an middle aged boy racer showing off his car, and various police bikes, came a parade of sponsors carnival floats, complete with freebies, logos and people trying to whip up the crowd into the nearest thing to excitement Yeovil can manage at 7.30am. Then, to the sound of church bells and local radio, came the flame itself, the thing we'd all come to see.

Arriving home, my inbox had a link to this piece by Jarrett, our local college chaplain. A local man has recently offered to sell advertising space on his body to support charities. Human billboard Chris Watson will have logos tattood onto his skin, in exhange for donations. Channel 4 have already spotted the story and are planning a documentary, which should boost the cash take considerably. Is this sacrificial giving, or the ultimate victory for marketing?

Jarrett writes of... the sheer volume and invasiveness of modern advertising. The places you can go without seeing advertising of any kind are rapidly depleting. Our recognition of company logos is an accepted norm in modern society. Students last week were showing me the highest downloaded free app on the iPhone: a Logos Quiz. Logos are displayed fully or partially, and you have to guess which company it is. Enough correct answers takes you to the next level where (yay!) more logos can be guessed.

The colonisation of the Olympics by branding and sponsorship (just watch Chariots of Fire, then compare and contrast with this: 14 logos and invitation to 'be part of it' by buying merchandise. Yes, if you haven't got £400 for the last remaining seats for the beach volleyball, you can always pretend you're there by shopping online.

Won't be long now.....

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