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Designing London 2012: The clash of the commercial titans features in our ad round-up

Posted by Rob Alderson,

Last night Team GB’s gold-medal-winning boxer Nicola Evans said the main thing she wanted to do after her triumph was “to go to Nando’s.” The quote spread like wildfire and bastion of British conservatism The Daily Telegraph even carried it on their front page this morning. One commentator suggested it was worth as much as McDonald’s multi-million pound sponsorship of the games and it brought into sharp relief the commercial competition being waged alongside the sporting action.

The official sponsors clearly have the run on their rivals, allowed to use the images, words and phrases the hugely strict rules restrict only to the chosen few, Wieden + Kennedy’s The Best Job for Proctor & Gamble is sickly sweet but undoubtedly has a broadbrush appeal, Adidas and Sid Lee ticked the right boxes with their spine-tingling Take the Stage campaign and TBWA\Chiat\Day brought in Morgan Freeman to narrate Visa’s golden-tinged effort.

  • Adidas_olympics_2012_phase1_6sheets_fa_7june_v1_1750x11852_2

    Sid Lee: Adidas Take the Stage

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    Sid Lee: Adidas Take the Stage

  • Adidas_olympics_2012_phase2_6sheets_fa_13june_v1_1750x11852_0

    Sid Lee: Adidas Take the Stage

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    Sid Lee: Adidas Take the Stage

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    Sid Lee: Adidas Take the Stage

Coca Cola, another of the official sponsors, deserve great credit for a long-running collaboration with Mark Ronson, who they commissioned to create a track based around the sounds of various Olympic sports. With all the conversations around branded content, Coke have tapped into the not-so-secret way of doing it properly – make it good. Both the track and Kim Gehrig’s accompanying film are really impressive and seemingly unconstrained by paranoid, constantly hindering branding concerns. The whole thing is brought together at Pernilla and Asif’s Beatbox pavilion at the Olympic Park.

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    Pernilla and Asif: Coca Cola Beatbox

Another Coke brand, Ice Dew water is responsible for one of the more memorably silly ads with a well-executed pastiche of tiny Olympians and huge kudos must go to SpecSavers for their razor-sharp next-day response to the embarrassing South Korea/North Korea flag mix up in the women’s football. A mention too for Leg/Eurostar’s gently ribbing ads featuring overweight statues of British Olympians like snooker and darts players although one suspects a quick glance at the medal table might stifle some of those cross Channel giggles.

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    Specsavers: North/South Korea flag advert

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    Leg: Eurostar Olympic Adverts

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    Leg: Eurostar Olympic Adverts

For sheer chutzpah Wieden’s Nike’s ambush ad featuring sporting action at different Londons around the world was a massive success and got a lot of online attention, but it was part of a wider, cohesive campaign about greatness not being confined to major events which I think struck a chord.

On television the BBC coverage may have been near-faultless but the animated titles were a bit uninspiring, particularly when you compare their approach to the Chanel 4 Paralympic advert, a thumping, intense spot that could help revolutionise our attitudes to what has previously been rather a bridesmaid to the games. Certainly the ad of these Olympics and maybe the ad of the year, although Mark Zibert’s single-take brilliance for the Canadian Paralympic Association runs it very close and it’s so refreshing to see such creative excellence being applied to this event.

Oh, and this Omega ad really got me going too, if only for its great use of one of the best openings in music history…

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

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