With surveillance Wenlock to accompany us we headed to the depths of Stratford for a little stroll and to look for any spill over effect from the olympics and to see how well the brand enforcement was working. So if you’re in a hurry the summary is:
– there’s very little spill over into the local area
– the olympic brand enforcement is working very well indeed.
Now before I go any further let me say that the crowds around Stratford are pretty close to my idea of hell, but that the volunteers I spoke to were awesome (mainly I asked “how do I get out of here?”). Also let me point you at the Snow Wolf who has a rather up beat take on matters. Arriving at Stratford there was an awful lot of security around, police private security and the odd very bored looking soldier. Once across the road from the station and into the shopping centre you couldn’t tell anything was going on, apart from the odd person with Olympic id badges and bored soldiers not a hint that anything was happening. The closest thing we saw to an acknowledgement of the games was a Union flag 2012 decal in one shop window. The man running that shop wasn’t aware of the list of banned words so so much for the Olympics authority’s duty to communicate that. Even within Westfield it self the shopping centre you can walk through to get to the games apart from obviously the volunteers and signs saying “games this way” and the huge number of peoples if you looked at the shop windows not a hint. Boots had signs about athletes but no mention of the games, another shop featured mannequins hanging from hopes and that seemed to be as close as it got. We did though bump into a chap who wanted to know where he could get our t-shirts from, and told us about some people who’d been collecting signatures for a petition about job loses and had been moved on.
Opting to leave my own personal hell we grabbed the DLR over to Greenwich, on the way we had a nice chat with a chap who was working in the Olympic village, which he assured us had very good security regarding who could get in – he wasn’t aware of the restrictions on words that businesses could use. So was quite interested to be told about it and seemed to be looking forward to telling people at work about it. Greenwich was a far more civilised affair, by which I mean fewer people in hi-viz vests herding people through runs of crowd control barriers.
As a shop we passed looked quiet we dropped into to chat to them about their sign. They were well aware of the restrictions imposed on them under threat of fine if they mentioned the event that hundreds of people would be streaming past their doors to see. So they were in their words being careful and sticking to just using lots of languages oh and horseshoes in colours and a pattern that might somewhat resemble a certain group of rings. That echoing the pattern of the rings whilst avoiding anything too close seems to be the order of the day, though very few places even did that. I took photo’s of every thing which came close that I saw whilst wondering Stratford, Greenwich and from Canon Street to Charing Cross and back along south bank, there wasn’t much. I think the crowning moment of how well the brand enforcement was working was in Greenwich park itself, there was a non-oylmpic festival going on just a few hundred yards away from the official venue, and if you’d been dropped blind fold into it you’d never have known the Olympics were happening. The big screen at the session showing the Olympic Tennis had nothing around it, the bar in the park didn’t mention no where other than on discreet official banners was there so much a sniff of any well known sporting event happening.
To be honest the official banners and posters are quite easy to miss as well. The only unofficial out right mention we found of the Olympics anywhere was a single hand written notice in a window. As you can see Wenlock was stunned. Just as well that having paid over 10 billion for these games we all get to take advantage of them like the official sponsors, who obviously deserve such fast amounts of protection having chipped in so much less (which is probably why they’re keeping that bit quiet).