Campaign of the Year: London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by LOCOG

2012 was an extraordinary year for the UK. To recognise this, PRWeek broke with the tradition of awarding Campaign of the Year to a PRWeek Award category winner.

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by LOCOG: Campaign of the Year
London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by LOCOG: Campaign of the Year

Instead, it awarded it to a comms team that had been at the heart of the global story of the year: LOCOG.

The Games were the most ambitious logistical exercise ever undertaken in the UK in peacetime. The statistics were staggering – there were around 800,000 spectators, more than 14,000 athletes and the capital was firmly in the global media’s spotlight as more than 21,000 journalists landed on British soil.

But despite years of negativity in the press, when the time came, the Olympic and Paralympic Games silenced even the harshest of critics.

The campaign was highly focused and meticulously planned. From the Opening Ceremony’s creative display of British eccentricity, to managing public transport expectations, to quickly responding to minor grievances, the comms team was highly prepared, well briefed and responsive.

It displayed shrewd use of internal comms to make sure the sizeable freelance workforce was on-message. It also deftly handled the additional pressure of social media that no other organising committee had faced on such a scale.

It met its first objective, which was to raise £2bn of private money. It got the law changed, to give an unprecedented level of protection to the sponsors, something that is likely to be a blueprint for future Games.

And all of this was achieved with very little use of traditional advertising.

Of course, it is too early to judge the longer-term aspects of the campaign – the legacy debate will continue. But in the short term, as Lord Sebastian Coe said at the closing ceremony: ‘When our time came, Britain, we did it right.’

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