For two weeks or so, Londoners are in for a real treat. They’re going to find out what it was like living in Stalinist Russia. The arrogant nomenklatura and apparatchiks lording it over everyone else – the ‘Zil’ limousine lanes catering exclusively for those belonging to the Party – the ubiquitous secret police; oh yes, them too. Or rather today’s equivalent, the dreaded brand police, ruthlessly tracking down Olympic infraction wherever the least suspicion of it emerges. That icing on your Danish pastries, it looks like Olympic rings, get rid of it; that girlie calendar at the back of your garage workshop with a saucy torchbearer, cover it up immediately; that multicolour floral wreath in the shop window, Madam, take it out and burn it.
You get the picture. And you’ll also get that it’s only the Little People who are persecuted. The big boys get away scot free. Take Nike for example – the arch ambush-marketer and inexorable rival of Olympics goody two-shoes sponsor Adidas. Nike has done it again with this one minute Olympian ode called Find Your Greatness – just launched:
Note the nifty way in which Nike’s campaign features amateur athletes from across the globe in towns that just happen to have the name London. How the narrator just happens to have a British accent. And how a series of “Find Your Greatness” videos on YouTube — created by W+K London — pay individual tribute to many of the Olympic (and, all right, some non-Olympic) sports: gymnastics, soccer, wheelchair racing, basketball, handstands, water polo, boxing, pogo, ultrarunning, BMX, weightlifting, marathon, diving, baseball, rugby – to name but a few.
Clever old Nike. This is perhaps the nearest we’re going to get to – as our contributor Paul Simons puts it – cutting through the Olympic overload.