Shop Talk

The Olympics: Money vs. the Superhumans

First up, I need to site another brilliant article I came across on Yahoo! written by Ian Dunt, which drove me to write the below.

So, we’ve all eaten our hats over the last few weeks haven’t we? We’ve be so bloody happy! We’ve moved from mad cynicism (me more than anyone – check out my last post) to pure elation as we saw superior human beings from around the globe triumph in acts of brutal athleticism. Who would have thought I would find myself shouting at the TV at 9:30am on a Saturday morning, in my PJ’s, whilst genuinely caring about the outcome of the canoeing. It happened, I loved it, and most importantly – I am not ashamed. Outbursts of emotion are SO un-British but my God unity is almost blasphemous.

So for a couple of weeks the entire British way was inverted. Speaking ill of the games was unheard of. We lost our irony, we lost our cynicism - even the British media displayed acts of almost propaganda-esque elation for our Isle. And the weirdest part? It felt quite nice.

However, the question I can’t help asking is so what’s this gonna do for us? As an economy, we’re not looking pretty. I can’t even keep up with what dip we’re meant to be on at the moment. It’s like being on a stag do in Blackpool.  So what’s all this roaring Olympics success going to do for my pay rise? My mortgage? My next Eurpopean City Break God damn it? Well, the full picture is obviously still unknown, but what is interesting is the impact of cash flow directly over the last few weeks.

Firstly, as Dunt points out we have the smuck up that was the G4S fiasco. We heard every media outlet shouting about it; their greed for the contract and reliance on cheep-un-thought-out-labour led them to fail at completing the job they took on. This led them to call on all their staff at the final hour. However, these staff were disloyal due to previous bad treatment which including being paid peanuts. Solution? Swallow costs and call in the good old Police and Army – they’ve not got anything better to do. True to form, they helped out and with smiles on their faces, kicking greed and corporation in the teeth and and starting off 2 weeks of British patriotism.

So – we’ve made a loss out of the security system – BUT, what about all those brands who have spent 4 years and investments bigger than Ronaldo’s (wage) packet aligning their shampoo with the hurdles? Well… yes, I’ve seen your ads on most London bus t-sides (makes a break from crap RomComs) and my hometown (Shoreditch) is littered with Addidas telling me that I’m capable of sporting prowess even without an ounce of skill (but donning an Addidas tshirt). Neither of which are true JFYI.  ”The official chocolate bar of the Olympics” is absolutel b.s. NO ONE believes that for a minute. As you’ll see from the MediaCom Twitter Tracker, my comments from my last post re. McDonalds aligning themselves has also not worked out that well. Ok, well done, you have a massive McDonalds in the village – but proportionaly a handful of people will see that and after watching 2 weeks of lean, mean fighting machines achieving more than we will ever, ever see- I know, for a FACT that if I eat Big Macs I will not even be able to run for the bus let alone be as great a human being as Mo. I LOVE MO.

The brings me onto the brilliant, brilliant BBC. They have ensured that no brand snuck it’s way onto their pure screens. Their footage was so captivating that you were so fixated on an athlete that you didn’t notice the brand of shorts or the drink in their hand. In the stark contast to America’s NBC (great round up by Duffy here) who shifted their coverage so it would rake in the premium advertising costs and not stream live, the BBC have in fact crafted 2 weeks of ad free entertainment – an almost impossible task in today’s world. I can’t even remember the last TV ad I saw. Through their outstanding commentary they themselves became part of Team GB, and my God don’t we all love Team GB. They drove home the patriotism but with a brilliant level of insight into sports we’d never heard of (The Modern Pentathalon?! A sport you need a laptop for? Weird. Although now I know the bird who won is also married to some other top notch athlete - thanks BBC. You made me contemplate what great, great things their kids will achieve.) I was genuinely worried I was going to have Visa shoved down my throat and come out of 2012 chopping up my credit card, but the BBC have acted as an ad block and for that I am forever grateful. The daily sight of Olympic athletes winning medals has evoked such emotion in me I temporarily forgot about the brand led, money driven consumerist world I live in. The joy of personal achievement has shone above and beyond the joy of profit or gain, and that is one thing that has taken me sy absolute suprise and something I will never, ever forget.

I want to finish up by quoting directly from Dunn’s own version of events, which I couldn’t agree with more.

Remember the faces of Sophie Hosking and Katherine Copeland when they won gold in the women’s lightweight double sculls, or the tears of countless athletes as they watched the Union Jack raised. Remember it the next time you see an interview with a professional footballers after a Premiership match. That’s the difference of the profit motive.

Clare Deloford