Fine advert for London passion
A sand sculpture of one of the London 2012 mascots. Pic: Rolf Vennenbernd/EPA

Fine advert for London passion


Before they started, these Games were dubbed the Censorship Games because it all seemed so horribly corporate, heavily sponsored and punitive to the independent trader, the local cafe which wanted to display bagels in the form of the Olympic rings ... that sort of thing.

And yes, you cannot switch on the television or walk out into the street without seeing some global corporation claiming the status of “official London 2012” washing powder, cup holder or toothpaste.

But the overall feeling of the Games around town has been so inclusive and “man of the street” that the 1984-style thought police horror stories have dwindled and, besides, some of the advertising is brilliantly British and bonkers.

My personal favourite is the series of vaguely self-defeating advertisements from British Airways displayed on tubes and billboards around the city.

They were obviously conceived when the UK was going through the anxiety familiar to anyone throwing a party – the fear that nobody will turn up. So there’s a slightly desperate and endearing tone to the ads which are positively deterring customers.

One reminds people, “The National Anthem Won’t Sing Itself”. Another tells them, “Shout At The TV Loud Enough And They’ll Hear You”. Both come with the tagline: “Don’t Fly. Support Team GB,” and, in these days of Twitter, the compulsory hashtag – #homeadvantage.

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