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How has Olympic logo and branding changed and developed over the years. The word ‘Branding’ simply means to represent or identify a specific company or product. Branding is when the idea or image is marketed so it becomes more recognizable by it’s consumers. Branding is an important part of Internet commerce, as branding allows companies to build their reputations as well as expand beyond the original product and service, and add to the revenue generated by the original brand. There is a big difference with the 1972 Olympic logo and the 2012 Olympic logo and you can see how the structure and design has been manipulated over the years. There are several questions that can be asked about the change in branding design. Created by Pierre de Coubertin in 1914, the Olympic flag contains five interconnected rings on a white background. The five rings symbolize the five significant continents and are interconnected to symbolize the friendship to be gained from these international competitions. The rings, from left to right, are blue, yellow, black, green, and red. The colors were chosen because at least one of them appeared on the flag of every country in the world. The Olympic flag was first flown during the 1920 Olympic games. The Olympics bring the world together and the branding logos can be recognized around the world. Noticeably, the logos seem to have changed from a monochromatic trend to a more multicolor approach in recent years. This shows the change in how technology impacts on the logo designs.

In this essay I will explore the contrasts between Olympic logo branding decades ago and logo brandings now. I will look at how specific logos came to its final design and the approach towards the logo design and also what influenced the design itself. I will base my essay on four questions that I have chosen to break down my final essay question and these questions are: What people think of Olympic logos then and now? How marketing has impacted Olympics and the logo design How Olympic logos are significant and create meaning. How Olympic logos stand out from each other.


A majority of people had different views and opinions on the London 2012 logo. There were many negative comments from people who said this logo did not represent London at all or it just looked very dull and boring however this logo didn’t fail to be recognized around the world. An international known logo that has caught the eye of foreigners and people around the world makes this logo significant and successful in different ways. The different shapes on the logo combines to make the number ‘2012’, which is the year of the Olympics. The logo design, which took £400,000 to make, was quite controversial to many people with mixed opinions. Despite having all these views on how it took £400,000 to make a logo which failed to impress, the logo design didn’t fail to show it’s value and what it is really worth. The Olympic rings and the word ‘London’ can be seen overlaying the shapes, which clearly represents the Olympics. There were many people saying that it shows you what exactly it’s representing and that’s all that needs to be done with a logo, however many people disagreed and tried to challenge these views by stating the cost of the design, “was it really worth that much money?” Compared to the Beijing Olympics held in 2008, the London 2012 logo design was not as significant as the Beijing Olympic logo. The Beijing Olympic logo had a lot of meaning and represented the people of China. The name of this logo called the ‘Dancing Beijing’ picked out a lot of elements from the Chinese culture. The design itself represents a traditional Chinese red seal. The word ‘Jing’ translates to ‘Capital’ meaning the capital of China and where the Olympics are held in. The ‘open arm’ character signifies a welcome to people around the world to the Chinese culture. This logo design received a massive response and with its significant meaning and representations, it received many good reviews and opinions by people around the world. Olympic logos are known to represent the country, the city and the culture of its people and many Olympic logos have achieved this. However there are some Olympic logo’s that haven’t. The Munich summer Olympics of 1972 contrasts to the Olympic logo of London 2012. Firstly, the Munich Olympic logo looks plain, very simple and the spiral like shape doesn’t seem to represent the country or the city. Many people criticized the logo design saying, “What’s it got to do with sport? It doesn’t even have the Olympic rings on it” or “It looks like it has been made out of a kid’s paper chain kit from the craft shop.” The Official Olympic website describes the Munich 172 logo and it states “It represents a crown of rays of light, a design symbolizing the spirit of the Munich Games- light, freshness, generosity, expressed by the design “Radiant Munich”. Otl Aicher who was the designer and director of the visual conception commission created it. His project was chosen in spite of a competition whose 2 332


entries were unsatisfactory.” So now we can see what the logo really represents and that was basically to symbolize the spirit of the Olympic games. People’s opinions vary about the Olympic logos and it is clear that the logo design itself must show a clear representation of the city, the Olympics or the culture otherwise it will not be seen as an achievable logo. Wolf Olins, the creator of the London 2012 logo stated that the Olympic logo wasn’t intended to represent London and the culture because internationally London is a recognized city and it doesn’t require any attention towards the representation of the city because the representations and the culture is already known by most people worldwide. Wolf Olins also stated that he wanted people to input their own developments onto this logo, he didn’t want it to be a logo that can’t be touched or altered and this whole idea of people bringing their own ideas onto this logo represented community. China on the other hand needed to create a logo that sold their country, their city and their culture. There were many issues before the Beijing Olympics in 2008. As the games got closer China faced a lot of problems and were questioned by Olympic and international committees. The main issues that they faced were, Population issues, pollution, food safety, human rights and the people of China. The population in china is estimated to be over 1 Billion people and the city of Beijing had an estimate of more than 20 million people. The Chinese government and Olympic officials had to think really hard about how to host the Olympics with so much people in one place. China was in the middle of its industrial revolution. 1.3 billion people, an emerging industrial economy, and many new, unregulated manufacturing facilities will make for some of the poorest air quality in Olympic history. So this was also another big issue they had to think about and the safety of the Olympics. A lot of controversy appeared when the US announced their athletes will bring their own food to the Olympics, due to an issue with pesticides used for their crops, causing thousands turning ill. China has been the subject of many human rights issues. The IOC created an organization, the Olympic Watch, back in 2001 to ensure that China improved its human rights dilemmas before it hosts the 2008 Olympics. The Olympic Watch has done its best to ensure that China improves its stand on free speech, the use of the death penalty in a biased court system, the communist governments stand on the countries of Tibet and Taiwan (both technically under Chinese rule), and many other human rights abuses practiced in China. As terrible as this issue sounds, China has made a big deal of its own people. Particularly focusing on those that will provide transportation during the Olympics, such as taxi drivers, the government has emphasized the importance of personal hygiene. The government wants its people to be as presentable as possible. However, this too will be difficult to enforce. Marketing plays a big role in the Olympics, as marketing promotes and sells the event and the country itself. Marketing and campaigning for the Olympics is a very common method that is used by countries to sell the Olympics to a global audience and there are many examples of marketing and advertising. From as early as 1896, the Olympic games of Athens a number of companies distributed and contributed revenue through


advertising for the very first time and ever since then advertising has given a huge impact on every Olympic event. Coca Cola, a very successful company began its sponsorship with the Olympics since the Amsterdam Olympics of 1928. The first Olympic games to launch an international marketing programme started in the Helsinki Olympics in1952. This is when advertising really became a global success and when marketing was a must for Olympic promoters. During the Olympic games of Tokyo in 1964, satellite broadcast coverage was used for the first time overseas and this allowed people around the world to be involved with the Olympics. The Mexico 1968 games went even further with TV coverage as they introduced colour with the broadcasting and the Olympic games were even more exciting than ever before.

Nowadays, Olympic games have become one of the most large-scale and profitable global media events. Today, sport, especially events associated with the Olympics, has not only become great entertainment, occupation and lifestyle, but solid business as well. In the world of sports, marketing, promotion and advertisement are fundamental tools for generating great profits. Through media, the Olympic games is capable of reaching the entire population. Social media, TV broadcasting, radio broadcasting and print media are just few of the examples of how the Olympics is delivered to other countries. And with the use of modern day technology, transferring a message from one side of the world to the other is as easy as speaking to someone directly in front of you. The Beijing Olympics had a lot of marketing tools and ways of advertising and one of the main forms of advertising the Olympics was through adverts that appeared on TV and on the Internet. Sponsorships such as Nike and Mc Donald’s helped to promote the Olympics through viral adverts and campaigns. The London 2012 logo followed the methods of viral ads and campaigns and pushed it even further by getting athletes involved and celebrity involvement. This was a technique that helped to promote the Olympics as it gathered different audiences and the audience as a whole was then aware of the Olympics that were held in 2012. A known advertisement that was created by The British Airways delivered a well-structured and well-represented advert that helped promote both the Olympics and the company. We can see the British Airways airplane cruise through the city of London; promoting London itself and we get to see the


traditional British culture through the actors who play the role of the citizens of London. The ad then ends with the Plane stopping near the Olympic stadium where the passengers are coming out of the plane and going into the Olympic games, which signifies a welcoming, to people around the world to the London 2012 Olympic games. "Without the support of the business community, without its technology, expertise, people, services, products, telecommunications, its financing - the Olympic Games could not and cannot happen. Without this support, the athletes cannot compete and achieve their very best in the world's best sporting event." stated Dr Jacques Rogge, the President of International Olympic Committee. The city of London had included alot of elements of advertising the Olympics within the city itself. Olympic logos are very different to each other however; they still manage to maintain their purpose and are significant to their city or country they are representing. The Olympic logos have very unique shapes and designs and the target audience instantly knows what country this logo is representing. Wolf Ollins said, “The resulting emblem is 2012, an instantly recognizable symbol and a universal form - one that was already closely associated with the Games in London, years before the event. It is unconventionally bold, deliberately spirited and unexpectedly dissonant, echoing London's qualities of a modern, edgy city.” The London Olympic logo was a great way of showing the representations of Britain. Notice how this logo contrasts to the Beijing Olympic logo as this logo looks more ‘artistic’. The Beijing Olympic logo is the most unique one, because it creates strong oriental cultural atmosphere. Each part of the logo contains rich cultural meanings. The logo was inspired from traditional elements that only exist in China: the Chinese seal, Chinese character and Chinese calligraphy. They have strong cultural signals that carve the ancient eastern civilization. The red seal catch you eye at the first sight; the hollow stroke in the middle is a style of Chinese calligraphy which shapes the character that symbolizes Beijing; most importantly, the character seems like a dancing person that makes the whole logo dynamic. Beijing Olympic logo succeeds in using cultural elements to demonstrate the attitude and personality of whole country. The clear difference between the Beijing Olympic logo and the London Olympic logo is that the London Olympic logo represents an edgy and modern city whereas the Beijing Olympic logo represents a more cultural, historical and artistic city. Both logos however, succeed to represent their cities and the Olympics in a creative way. To conclude this essay I will summarize my research and to answer the question ‘How has Olympic logo and branding changed and developed over the years?’ From my research, I’ve realized that the Olympics have gained a lot of reputation over the years and the Olympic logos have made a huge impact on the audience for the Olympics. In my opinion I think that if it weren’t for Olympic logo’s, the Olympics wouldn’t be a success. One reason why I think


this is because Olympic logos are a representation of a city, a culture or anything that is linked with that country and this is all displayed into one simple image. There is no description of what the Olympic logo represents, there is just a simple logo that says it all. Designers have become more creative and thoughtful when creating the Olympic design as they focus more on the representations rather then just how it looks and I think this is what the Olympics is all about. There are many mixed opinions on how certain Olympic logos look and what they represent but I believe that all Olympic logo designers’ intentions were to create a representation within their logo design. The Beijing Olympic logo created a huge response from the world and welcomed everyone to their city for the Olympic games. From first glance it may seem as if it just an ordinary logo but the most successful logos are those that make you wonder what is this logo trying to show and what does it represent. After looking at an Olympic logo and the specific country you start to realize what it is trying to represent. In my opinion I think that the London 2012 olympic logo is a clear representation of the city despite it looking unappealing and creative. London isn’t the most appealing city in the world, however it is a very historical city and it is known for the multicultural environments and communities, which come together to achieve great things. I think that this logo has achieved to represent this as Wolf Ollins himself, the designer of the London Olympic logo, said that this logo was aimed to represent communities and that this logo should be used for communities to come together and to create their own representations within the logo. He also said that London is already an internationally known country and doesn’t require any attention towards the city itself. Once again, this is another example of how designers have thought very carefully about the design and what they would include in the logo. The Olympics over the years have developed through many ways and one way is through marketing. Marketing is what promotes the Olympics and through many sources it can lead to a worldwide success. For example media is an example of how the Olympics is distributed through marketing. TV coverage of the Olympics was once the only way of showing the Olympics but now, with modern day technology the Olympics can be shown through many resources such as phones, laptops, radios, tablets etc. Millions around the world watched the London 2012 Olympics and thousands were able to witness the Olympic games at the beautifully structured Olympic stadium in Stratford. Advertisements were also made before the Olympics games to advertise, promote and to sell the Olympic games. Social media also has big impact on the world of marketing in the Olympics, as the Internet has become the number one source for information, entertainment and socializing etc. Social media and networking sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace etc are all sites that provide information and advertisements for a particular event and the Olympics was hyped through these sites. The ‘hash tag’ system that is used through twitter, where users get to hash tag a particular event to promote and allow other users to see these hash tags and find more information about them. Some examples of hash tags that were used for the Olympics were ‘#2012’,’#LondonOlympics’. The Olympic spirit has been proven to bring everyone together and for people to support their countries. The Olympic logos have definitely been


developed throughout the years through technology, art, culture and history etc. What the future holds for Olympic logos is unknown but one thing for sure is that Olympic logos have become the number one representation of the Olympics.


How has olympic logo and branding changed and developed over the years