The planning and preparation for BT’s London Live campaign began in 2005, when it was first announced that London would host the 2012 Summer Olympics. Now seven years later, the Games are fully underway and BT is making its presence known as one of the most active and visible London 2012 Olympic Partners.
To activate their campaign, BT has established three outdoor viewing arenas in hot-spots around London, including Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square, and the East End’s Victoria Park. At each site, BT has installed a number of state-of-the-art screens with concert quality sound systems, providing live coverage of Olympic events. These festival-like venues also feature live entertainment, Have-a-Go Sports centres, children’s activity zones, carnival rides, sponsorship pavilions, beer gardens, and a wide selection of affordably-priced food stalls.
Where BT London Live excels is in the functionality of the campaign’s delivery. All and all, the sites are very user friendly – they’re easy to get to, free to enter, and offer an excellent range of activities for all ages. Once inside, visitors are met by helpful officials and a casual, laid-back atmosphere. By working together with a spectrum of local businesses, site partners, Olympic Sponsors, and city councils, BT has achieved a nice blend of community presence amongst the corporate advertisements.
When it comes to the branding of BT London Live, however, I’m afraid the campaign falls a bit short. Most of the design elements, such as the graphic hexagons featured behind the logo for example, appear clunky, disruptive and muddled. To me, this simply reflects a larger problem at play with BT’s overall branding strategy, in which a clear brand identity is altogether lacking. While the logo for BT Group does speak to the multi-national scale of the company, it says nothing about the telecommunications nature of their business. Thus, when it comes to extending BT’s brand identity for special campaigns such as BT London Live or Bringing us all Together for London 2012, we see a real lack of cohesion. While BT London Live is playful and lively, Bringing us all Together… is serious and dark. The former uses the bright colours of the central logo’s globe, whereas the latter references the logo’s dark blue lettering. In effect, this seems to be a real missed opportunity for BT to achieve some high-scale brand recognition.
So, does BT come out on top or fall flat at London 2012? Well, the answer to that depends on where you stand. From a spectator’s point of view, BT is making the Games more accessible and more enjoyable for thousands of Games fans. From a branding point of view, they definitely could have used the platform differently to take the company further. In either case, BT has provided great coverage of London 2012 which is, after all, what they do best.
For Olympic spectators hoping to get close to the action, London offers plenty to see and do that doesn’t require an entry ticket. Outside of the Olympic Park, BT has set up several venues in which fans can catch the latest events, watch live entertainment and participate in family games. Amongst the big screens and fish & chip stands, visitors can also find sponsorship pavilions, offering interactive activities for enhanced visitor experience. BT’s ‘London Live Hyde Park’ site is host to one such pavilion, called Cadbury House, a so-called ‘enchanting destination’ where chocolaty fantasy becomes reality.
As the ‘Official Treat Provider’ to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Cadbury has developed the Cadbury House pavilion as one of the central activation points of its ‘Joyville’ campaign. The pavilion, which includes a chocolate tasting zone, a ‘Chocolatrium’, several chocolate gaming stations and a competitive Olympic Games zone, takes visitors on a Willy Wonka-like fantasy tour led by a series of grossly animated guides dressed in baggy overalls. As the tour winds its way through a series of purple corridors and electric pink rooms, participants are rewarded with small chocolate treats for dancing on cue and winning games featuring Cadbury products.
In creating Cadbury House, the chocolate giant explains their aim was to bring ‘fun, pleasure and smile to the London 2012 Games’. While I did see a lot of 3-7 year-olds running around the pavilion with big chocolaty grins, the campaign’s over-the-top amusement park branding felt more abrasive, forced and one-dimensional than it did joyful. Needless to say, I’d don’t think the memory of Cadbury House will outlast the sugar rush.
Managing Director Kyle Romaniuk visited Montreal last week for the 2012 Canadian Sponsorship Forum. The Forum travels around the country each year, showcasing some of the most successful sponsorship stories in Canadian business. Never missing an opportunity to learn from an experience, Kyle took the time to document his insights and a few of the breakout ideas shared by some of the most influential thinkers in Canadian sponsorship.
Highlights from the Canadian Sponsorship Forum, 2012, Montreal
My biggest takeaway this year was the realization/validation that when you reverse-engineer what works in sponsorship, the same approach can be applied to a brand strategy, marketing plan, digital campaign, etc. Connect emotionally with your audience and create a memorable experience — this creates more impact, builds loyalty, and increases your market share.
A few other thoughts: Have a reason to exist beyond product and service; a shared purpose or mission, a story worth telling that will inspire internal and external audiences. The reason why you exist and the desired outcome should inspire the outputs. Produce a few very well executed touchpoints integrating digital, experiential and traditional to not only reach, but engage and involve your audiences.
Everything successful is built on a shared passion, belief or purpose. But, make sure an individual’s passion (even if it’s that of the CEO) doesn’t get in the way of what’s right for the brand and all of its audiences.
But enough from me. Here’s a sampling of the stand-out ideas from this years’ outstanding speakers. - K.R.
The magic number for sponsorship success – three. No more than three objectives. Set three measures. Sign up for at least three years (sponsorship always begins to maximize in year 3). No more than three activation tactics (after that it’s a waste of money and people don’t care). Three opportunities to intercept. Three minute wait time (not hours!). Three dollars per attendee.
Don Mayo, Global Managing Partner
83% of consumers want a company to be involved with a cause, and it’s about more than just saying “proud supporter” and putting a logo on a box; it’s about integration and building commitment with customers.
Nancy Marcus, Corporate Vice President Marketing
Switch from the four Ps to the four E’s — engagement, experience, exclusivity and emotion.
Oliver Robert Murphy, Global Head of New Business
Universal Music Group
When you combine YouTube with TV advertising, the drive brand recall is two-times higher than TV alone. Personalize everything; the ability to be unique online is extraordinary.
Nicolas Darveau-Garneau, Managing Director
Kyle also had a chance to check out the 30th Annual Just for Laughs Festival, the host of this year’s Sponsorship Forum. But that’s a story for another post…
The plan this morning was to head down to the Olympic park and snap some shots of the TOP sponsors’ brand activations. Unfortunately, it turned out that wasn’t possible. Apparently as of Monday, Ticketmaster has stopped selling ‘entry only’ tickets to the Olympic park. This means that all access to the major sponsorship pavilions is now limited to event ticket-holders and Olympic officials. So, the new plan? Cross my fingers and hope to snag one of the few tickets being released to the public at midnight tonight and, in the meantime, take to the streets!
Sticking within London’s East End, I spent a good part of the day chasing cabs and shooting buildings. While vehicle wraps and billboards certainly aren’t the most exciting component of the various London 2012 sponsorship campaigns, they do provide as a strong visual presence of the Games. Below are some of the highlights, featuring campaign ads by Visa, BT, Samsung, Adidas, McDonald’s, BP, Dow, Lloyds TSB, and Cadbury.
Everyone’s well aware that Muhammad Ali could talk. But Louis Vitton’s recent campaign honouring the boxer, and connecting a person’s journey through life to the geographical travel directly concerning their products, reminds viewers that Ali’s words weren’t just talking; they was writing.
In the spots, riveting work by Ogilvy Paris, some of Ali’s most famous diatribes are related for the viewer by Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), while ‘calligraffiti’ artist Niels Show Meulman does his thing on the canvas underfoot.
You can’t help but be taken up in the phrases. The rhyme schemes are so pleasantly gripping, they offer fervor and repetition as the action rises, carrying you upward with them, and then break into a slowed fruition that shatters the expected rhyme and demands your attention. The metaphors and hyperbole fit so naturally into these lines, and Def delivers with his standard charisma, a brushstroke of Brooklyn in everything he does. Compounded upon Ali’s immense personality, it’s simply wonderful.