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Saturday, 09 June 2007


Stephen Davies

Ahem, it's not a PR disaster ... it's a brand disaster.


I like it:


Amelia Torode

Think that it is a fair to say that it is a pretty big PR disaster for Wolff Olins as a corporate brand.

Would you have recommended that they talk to the press or from a PR professional POV are they doing the right thing by staying silent?


Wolff Olins is playing it by the book. The first rule of crisis management is to control the messages from your organisation and from what I can tell, there hasn't been a peep from them.

The next step is to figure out, quickly, if anything can be done to improve the situation; this is what Coke failed to do when there were people sickened by cans of Coke a few years back. Even when nothing can be done the public effort of reaching out and trying to make things right can make a big difference.

In this case, outside of producing a logo that actually gets across the idealism of the Olympic movement for youth (the stated objective for the London games), Wolff Olins can do no more than sit on its hands and hope that the whole thing will blow over.

It's long been disproved that "bad PR is still PR and that means good PR". This failure will be a stain on their name for years, particularly in the brand identity world, where CEO's will have a hard time hiring them without shareholders and owners asking aloud, "Aren't they the people who made the Olympics unpopular?"

It's quite astonishing if you think about it. Of all the endeavours in Britain, this was one of the few that could do no wrong. It's quite a feat to get people to question Seb Coe' leadership.

Expectations were high, and that's perhaps why the corporatese explanations wouldn't do. The logo was supposed to be a continuation of the 'perfect pitch' that matched the ideals of the Olympic movement with a uniquely English mix of idealism and pragmatism.

The jangling design communicated none of these values; in fact it had no values at all, only attributes. 'Dynamic' and 'vibrant' are not values. They are light words that were probably meant to make the logo appear youthful. Unfortunately, the design is so off-mark that it appears ancient and desperate instead of contemporary and cool.

To all the commentators who say that logos don't matter, or are empty vessels in which meaning is later poured, I say piffle. Apple wasn't meaningless; its name and its rainbow pattern suggested a handmade product that belonged in homes in an age when computers where inhuman and for business only. Nike's swoosh suggested bravura movement and athleticism when Reebok was using serif fonts and the Union Jack to nail heritage and provenance to its mast.

I hope that this controversy doesn't die down. I hope that continued pressure will force the logo to change. It IS important. There IS a meaning to these Olympic games.

(You know, A., if these posts are too ranty, let me know.)

Paul H. Colman

I had a briefing from the lady in charge of it at LOCOG, she seemed to like it.


I'm a fan of the logo. I get the feeling that the way this has snowballed isn't due to the design itself, rather the feeling of disconnection that people are beginning to get for the 2012, through things like spiralling costs.

Had the logo been launched alongside the bid being won, and with the clarity of 2012 in London's raison d'etre being unquestionable in everyone's mind, I wonder what the response might have been.


From the Daily Mail
Education Secretary Alan Johnson dismissed the new logo with the observation that it looks "like Boris Johnson's hair". He joked: "I think it looks a bit like Boris Johnson's hairstyle."

The suggestion drew a crisp response from the Conservative MP for Henley and shadow higher education minister.

Mr Johnson said: "You can say what you like about my hairstyle but at least it has not yet induced epilepsy. And it cost considerably less than £400,000 to design." "

Apparently they have set up a hotline at Wolff Olins to deal with the protests tells me Jerome whose wife works there.

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