LEADER: Graphic illustration of a defensive mess

Based on the Nazi SS insignia. Causes epilepsy. A ‘puerile mess’. Has there ever been such a fuss made about a collection of graphics?

The launch of the London Olympics logo this week has prompted a quintessentially British reaction: a mixture of righteous outrage (The Daily Telegraph claims 30,000 people have signed an online opinion to get it scrapped) and creative humour (some hilarious alternative designs sent in from the public).

Of course, it’s really much ado about nothing. Whether you like the logo or not, surely there are more important issues for us – and the media – to worry about.

But from a professional perspective, one doesn’t feel Locog’s reputation has been enhanced.

Moreover, you wonder how its PR team didn’t see this one coming – just look at the track record of the branding industry. The BA tailfins upset Margaret Thatcher so much that she famously draped her handkerchief over a model plane. And remember the outcry over BT’s ‘piper’ logo?

The British psyche is such that we attack anything ‘launched’ at us. And if it’s something that is costing the taxpayer billions, the effect is going to be magnified.

A rather defensive Locog spokeswoman told PRWeek that the launch had ‘stimulated creativity from the public’. So, one must ask, why didn’t they think of running a public competition to design the logo? After all, we’re always being told that it’s ‘our Olympics’.  A good message.

There may have been valid reason for this, but the fact is that explanations have generally been lacking.

The London 2012 bid team set new standards in communication with media, opinion formers and public alike. It is one of the reasons our capital won the games.

Locog’s PR task is arguably tougher, but it must never be seen to be defensive. Indeed, it could do worse than bring the marketing and media community onside.
danny.rogers@haymarket.com

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