Claire Beale on Advertising The Olympic spirit work for nothing! 2009: Monday 4

Claire Beale on Advertising The Olympic spirit work for nothing!

Monday, 4 May 2009 Doritos and its ad agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO bring you an online version of dodgeball (at Doritos.co.uk) where you

fire balls at a real, live opponent who's trapped in a room in a secret location in London's East End Perhaps it was inevitable that the London Olympics body, Locog, would annoy adland. Any client whose very name revels in the notion of committee has to be trouble. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games: sounds like the sort of advertiser that wouldn't recognise great advertising if it stood on a podium waving a gold Lion. Oh, but Locog has the dream of an advertising brief: to create the global, integrated knobs-on campaign for the 2012 Olympic Games. Ad accounts don't come more prestigious. This is a real agency-transforming, agenda-setting, career-building opportunity to make history. Not just advertising history, national history, global history. Yes, when Locog invited agencies to pitch for its account, the advertising beasts were slavering. Some agencies thought so too. One apparently pulled out on principle: great advertising deserves the respect of a proper fee and the Olympics needs the greatest advertising the industry can produce. Heck, the British people deserve the greatest advertising for their Olympics. Isn't that worth paying properly and responsibly for Let's be clear. Agencies often work for free or at cost &8211 generally for charities and for hard-up causes that they passionately believe in. It's usual. But Locog is not a charity. Nor is it likely to be a pathetically grateful client that's relatively easy to work for and that welcomes creative risk-taking. The Olympics account is going to be one of the most demanding, labour-intensive, scrutinised and criticised pieces of business any agency will ever be called upon to cancel its weekends for. There have been some mutterings about the fact that the account has gone to the US-owned McCanns rather than the other key contender, the British WPP, which, it's said, wasn't prepared to pay as much as &16310m for the business. Pah. Advertising's a global business and the days for petty jingoism are long gone.

Locog may have held an unconventional pitch &8211 and God forbid this should inspire other clients &8211 but it has appointed a solid agency partner which will do a very respectable job. No advertising campaign will be more critically scrutinised than this Olympics work. It had better be very, very good. The critics of Locog's pitch are already loading their guns.

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