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Sunday, August 24

Excessive brand protection

I was forced this week to consult the 2012 brand guidelines. Don't ask. They've created the right degree of paranoia at ground level, so I'm forced to read through pages of this nonsense for fear of their lawyers.

Reading through, it's all about protecting those Big Corps putting at least £50m in. Not one word encouraging support. And given the curtailment of government funding, 2012 is going to be thoroughly 'branded' by these Big Corps like the handover event was, with VISA everywhere.

So much for support of small business. And look out for yet more stories over the next four years of some piddling community event or even novel being sued for daring to use the word 'Olympics'.

Tucked away in those 2012 brand guidelines (and this is the ones for 'non-commercial' use!) is the following hilarity, something I'd thought ditched long ago due to its plain ridiculousness:

"Linking to the London 2012 website
If you wish to link to our website, you can do so using our special 'link to us' buttons."
Just to repeat (sigh, I'm having flashbacks), no you don't need anyone's permission to link.

And those buttons themselves? Terrible. No logo whatsoever. And surrounded by stifling legalese, which is as far away from true net marketing as you can get.

It is precisely at this micro-level where 2012 fails online. According to them, it's all about poor schmucks taking some shine from them rather than adding your support or encouragement. That's the basis on which they engage. Add to this their blogs which aren't part of the blogosphere, the ongoing accessibility fiasco and - online - 2012 seems tokenistic and way over controlled.

Not 'webbie' IOW. But maybe that's their aim.

It's all about 'protecting the brand' rather than encouraging engagement and - frankly - gives more than a wiff of 2012 being all about Big Corps and control and not about the sort of democratic engagement which the ideals claim.

Surprising? No. One of the stifled stories of the Beijing Games is how Nike, a £50m investor, has set the Chinese 'security' hounds on some poor f**k who dared to post about one of their 'investments':
An anonymous internet user, claiming to be close to Nike, had written a web post in which they suggested Nike had forced Liu [the great Chinese athletic hope] to pull out because he wasn't going to win, and that would compromise the firm's investment in him. Your basic internet conspiracy, but the corporation's response was as swift as it was staggering. They announced: "We have immediately asked relevant government departments to investigate those that started the rumour."
This is how Big Corps behave. Plus can you imagine them asking exactly the same of UK 'government departments' - and getting what they want? I can.

And that logo in the top right of this post? So sue me. I've read the guidelines. I think it says I'm allowed. But even if it didn't. How very dare you!


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