The City of London has been subjected to years of planning and preparation for the big ‘London 2012’ – I guarantee that many like me believed that July 2012 would never actually arrive! Now however, we face the prospect of less than 20 days until the games themselves actually begin and are forced to contemplate how our lives are going to change.
Evidence of this upcoming event is now sprawled across the entire city – the ‘Olympic Lanes’ have been drawn onto the roads, the tubes have been subtly trying to prepare you to ‘Get Ahead of the Games’ for months now and people are actually having to start thinking about how they are going to conduct their everyday lives for the upcoming month of events.
This year has already taken the country through a whirlwind with the Queens Diamond Jubilee events, and Andy Murray’s recent escapades at Wimbledon. We have also monitored the Olympic Torch through its travels around the country and seen the hype that it caused. Great Britain has seen a remarkable year already, and now with the Olympics looming just how much is it going to affect the city we live in?
On the plus side, the Olympics has paved the way for many parts of London to be ‘done-up’ and turned many undesirable regions of the city into tourist hotspots. The design of the Olympic Park itself, Anish Kapoor’s sculpture which has generated the right amount of excitement and controversy all contribute to an experience which moves beyond sport and into a media experience.
Inevitably the influx of tourists and people to the areas will drive up consumerism, which can only be seen as a benefit, but what we have to decide is whether the hassle and disruption to our everyday lives, not to mention our tax payer’s money, is worth the prestige and tourism that an event such as the Olympics can attract! And for those brands who aren’t in the elite LOCOG sponsors list, the options of using the event to promote those consumer offerings are limited – so for many business hassle may outweigh opportunity.
Inevitably the Olympics will benefit the city and the country for many years to come or else we wouldn’t have committed to hosting such an event. However, we will just have to wait and see whether our ancient underground system can handle the pressure and whether Londoners themselves will cope with the influx of tourists and the changes that it will bring to our normal lives.
Look out for more Olympic-themed blogs in the buildup to the opening ceremony! And if you want to make sure your marketing stays alight during the ceremony then why not brief now?