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They’re our athletes

Thank you.

Two little words but a big sentiment which our wonderful British Olympic medallists should be quick to say over the remaining days of London 2012.

By no rationale should Britain be the third (at the time of writing) most successful Olympic nation in the world.

We are a small island race. We don’t have billions of people to choose from in terms of our talent pool.

Yet, we are performing brilliantly. And this is, in no small part, down to you and me.

You can easily draw a graph which clearly plots how the establishment of National Lottery- and the subsequent investment into sport – has transformed our fortunes.

So thanks to those brilliant athletes who are giving us the best of times.

And thanks to us too. As we have all played our part in making this the greatest games ever.

See the Telegraph today for their view

Paddy Power vs LOCOG

Maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised…

Those terrific self-publicists Paddy Power have broken ranks first and have bloodied the LOCOG nose by moving into ‘ambush’ territory.

In case you missed it – and I’m sure you didn’t – Paddy Power has taken full page adverts in the national press and launched a major outdoor campaign promoting their sponsorship of “the largest athletics event in London this year”.

They then go on to highlight that they mean London in Burgundy, France.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) instructed JCDecaux to take down the adverts.

Paddy Power then responded by asking their lawyers to seek a court order on the grounds that the campaign does not breach legislation on advertising around the 2012 Games.

There are issues about gaming companies being linked to the Olympics, say LOCOG.

Paddy Power show no sign of contrition however. In fact, they are happily stoking the fire with comments such as ‘”It’s a pity they (LOCOG) didn’t put the same energy into the ticketing and security arrangements for the Games that they put into protecting their sponsorship revenue streams.
“We’re taking this fight to the High Court in the interest of our customers and of common sense.”

We might all find this relatively amusing but there is a serious issue here. Those brands who have invested in the Olympic and Paralympic Games at global and domestic level need protection.

A few days before the Games, they are all abiding by the rules. However, it’s not only the athletes that will run and run over the coming days.

It’s this story if Paddy has anything to do with it.

Keep the bunting up!

Brand Britain received an unexpected boost yesterday when the England football team didn’t get trounced by France.

I certainly expected the positivity which enveloped the nation for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – and will, again, be in full effect for London2012 – to nosedive spectacularly this week at the start of Euro 2012.

Never can we have gone into a major football tournament with such a lack of hyperbole and, for once, a dose of realism.

Thankfully we seem to have reasonable expectations of where the team currently is in terms of its development but, hey, if we get out of the group – then that’s worth celebrating after the woes of the World Cup in South Africa.

Hopefully England can do well and help us continue the ‘feel good factor’ in this spectacular year for Britain at home and abroad.

We may turn a slightly deaf ear when we hear the political establishment talking of the value which the events in 2012 will bring to Britain – but they are absolutely right.

These events may cost us a lot as taxpayers – but the benefits are huge internally and externally.

This summer will do more to create positive perceptions of Britain across the world – and in our own backyards – than at any time in recent memory.

So keep your bunting up, get behind Roy Hodgson’s team and let’s keep the party going right through until the end of a glorious summer of celebration.

100 days to the Paralympic Games

Hot off the press I have just seen a sneak preview of the new Channel 4 films using BT Ambassadors to raise the nation’s levels of awareness and excitement as we head towards the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

These new films are centred on some of the world’s leading Paralympians – and will air within the coming days.

Look out for several BT Ambassadors doing remarkable things… global superstar Oscar Pistorius leaping like Superman across Tower Bridge, Welsh warrior Nathan Stephens wearing his heart on his sleeve and expressing his pride in competing for his nation and Paralympic medallist Lee Pearson aboard his horse at 3am in Piccadilly Circus.

These dramatic London nightscapes are beautifully directed by Stewart Suggs and are some of the best work which I’ve seen on Channel 4 since they secured the rights to be the 2012 Paralympic broadcasters.

BT is the Official Communications Services Partner and a Sustainability Partner to London 2012 and has supported the Paralympic movement for many years. Their ambition to bring these incredible athletes to life in this series of 90 second films is wonderful.

Fast Track has (not so) warm memories of working with Pistorius at minus four degrees in February to make his film – but the late nights and freezing temperatures have all been worthwhile for the fabulous results.

Which brand is brave enough for Dwain?

Which British athlete will gain most coverage between now and Olympic Games ..?

Philips Idowu? Jessica Ennis? Mo Farah?

My money is on Dwain Chambers.

Chambers has just had his lifetime ban from competing at the Olympic Games lifted after the British Olympic Association by-law, which allowed them not to select him, was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The BOA argued that his previously failed drugs test should make him ineligible to compete at the Olympics. CAS disagree and say that he has paid his dues.

Chambers can now compete at London 2012 if he qualifies at the UK Athletics Olympic Trials later this summer.

So which brand is going to sign up Dwain and tell a story about redemption and how they believe in giving a reformed man another chance..?

Dwain has struggled financially in recent years having not been invited to many lucrative athletics meetings. Sponsors have also stayed away.

The question now is which brand will pick up one of the hot news stories of 2012..? And probably for an extremely cost effective sum.

On your marks .. Get set .. Go.

National Lottery – Life Changing

You change lives

Did you see the National Lottery Olympic Park Run last weekend..?

5,000 people pulled from 43,000 entrants in public ballot having the chance to be the first to race in the Olympic stadium.

To the casual observer the run could have been seen as just another sponsored sporting event in a summer crammed full of them – with the National Lottery logo and new tagline, Life Changing, positioned all over the Park .

But there is a substantial difference when it comes to the National Lottery.

It is not a sponsor. It is an investor, an enabler, allowing athletes and sporting bodies to follow their dreams.

As a result of National Lottery players, £2.2 billion will be invested in the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic infrastructure and athlete hopefuls.

Simply, there is no greater supporter of sport and culture in the UK than the National Lottery.

And it’s not The Lottery, or Camelot or CEO Dianne Thompson who should be celebrated here… It’s the British public.

Anyone who plays the Lottery each week does their bit to change Britain for the better.

So it’s not the Lottery which is ‘life changing’. It’s you.

Football vs London 2012

July 27th was supposed to be the day on which the eyes of the world focused solely on London for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games.

However, it is now a date which much of Asia will have pencilled in their diaries for another reason.
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Welcome to Euro 2012

No full-time manager, a captain stripped of the armband amid accusations of racism and nothing to shout about on the pitch… welcome to England’s build-up to this summer’s major football tournament, Euro2012.

It feels like an on-going road crash for the Media and PR professionals at the Football Association to deal with, but here’s a bold prediction… England may be set for the best press that they’ve had in recent years when the team get to Poland and Ukraine. Read More

A St Valentine’s day kiss and make up between Manchester City and Carlos Tevez

However, this is one relationship headed for heart-break and tears.

Just when Man City’s PR and marketing professionals should be building their brand, the toxic nature of this story threatens to undermine all their efforts.

To recap, striker Carlos Tevez refused to play for City in a match at the end of the year. Cue a bitter fall-out between player and club and a parting of the ways seemed inevitable.

Only one problem with that .. no other club wanted to buy him in the January transfer window.

So here we are in February and, miraculously, both parties have had a dramatic change of heart. The player wants to return to help City try and win the Barclays Premier League title – and the club are delighted to have him back in the fold.

If only City had been strong enough to banish Tevez into exile (or the reserves at any rate), they could have done wonders for their brand. Their stance would have said that petulance won’t be tolerated and their values are more important than any individual player.

A position which would have been welcomed all over the world.

In a week when Liverpool Football Club – one of the strongest brands in world sport – had their reputation tarnished by one of their players, Luis Suarez, refusing to shake hands with an opponent on the back of a racism row, Manchester City could have taken a position which showed that they had standards which they wanted to uphold.

By welcoming Tevez back into the fold, they don’t demonstrate forgiveness and understanding.

They simply show that the financial imperative and clamour for success overrides any other consideration.

England Rugby’s rude awakening

“Honest, truthful and reliable”, reads the job brief posted on Odgers Berndston’s website. The City recruitment firm is looking to fill the role of the new England head coach, as the stand-in Stuart Lancaster begins the transformation of the team’s image ahead of the Six Nations.

This week the blustery hills of Yorkshire play home to the England rugby union team, as they undergo a week’s training in the chilly January air. Stuart Lancaster not only has the job of rebuilding the team’s dismal on-field performance, but restoring their reputation off it as well. The perceived prima donna culture and abject failure thus far is being remedied by the ex-schoolmaster – moving the training camp from its usual, more balmy home Portugal will send a strong message that there will be no easy ride this time following the fall-out from New Zealand.

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