London 2012: playing the good game, and some bad ones

The Olympics continue. If you look at this lovely Instagram feed from London, you’ll see it dominated by Olympics images.

There have been some interesting brands subverting the Olympics’ rules for non-sponsors. I was listening to a podcast this week where a Guardian journalist said that there are people called the ‘branding police’ walking around all Olympic venues to ensure that non-sponsors don’t get an iota of space or airtime. McDonald’s went so far as to ban chips from all the venues, unless they are sold as part of a deal with fish.

If you follow the #honestolympics hashtag today, and Cory Doctorow on Twitter, you’ll see what people really feel about such heavy-handed behaviour. They even discuss alternatives to working like that.

And then of course there’s been the massive shambles of the London 2012 ticketing website, where people have been unable to get tickets despite many events showing plenty of empty seats. A friend of mine who got tickets to the Olympic Park (entry to the park, not an event, as it were), said she spoke to a volunteer manning an event venue who said they would have loved to be able to sell tickets right there to prevent empty seats, but the only licensed place to sell tickets was the website.

Enter the Olympics saviour: the 2012 Ticket Alert Twitter feeds, built by Adam from CBM Tech, a developer who was trying to get gymnastics tickets for his fiancee by scraping the ticket alerts site for instant notification of when tickets are really available. Everyone around me at work seems to be constantly refreshing the page every day, and they’ve apparently helped thousands of people get tickets over the last 2 weeks. Of course LOCOG played villain, seeing innovation as a threat: they shut the service down after a couple of days – but thanks to the media coverage and consequent Twitter outrage, they are back up, doing something that LOCOG should be doing themselves.

It’s pretty interesting to see how different brands and authorities respond to an event of this magnitude. Clearly social media is one factor many people haven’t really thought much about.

P&G are one brand I think are doing extremely well, not just with their clean-up campaign but with videos like this.

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