Blog: So you’re an Olympic sponsor – so watt?

The sheer power of the moment when the huge bronzed Olympic cauldron burst into flames in the darkened Olympic Stadium over the weekend is undeniable. For millions watching in Great […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The sheer power of the moment when the huge bronzed Olympic cauldron burst into flames in the darkened Olympic Stadium over the weekend is undeniable.

For millions watching in Great Britain and around the world, it’s an image that will be burned into the memory for years to come.

Hoping to latch onto the unforgettable spectacle of Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony is a host of sponsors whose ready cash will have helped along the ceremony’s £27million proceedings.

But just how powerful a message can you spread – and make it stick – as an Olympics sponsor? It’s a question all those corporate multinationals will ask themselves over the summer – among them EDF Energy.

And you do wonder – who is going to buy a type of soft drink, use a debit card, switch to an energy tariff – just because the company’s logo is snuggled up to the Olympic rings?

That’s what ELN asked bystanders to the Olympic Torch relay last week as it passed Ally Pally – appropriately enough, the People’s Palace.

Beggaring my belief, one punter outside The Priory pub suggested sponsorship of something “worthwhile” would definitely swing it when picking a supplier.

He told ELN: “If you weren’t fussed where you went, or the kids were getting a new house, if asked where will you go for an energy company, [I’d say] look at the prices and then look at someone who puts their profits back into something worthwhile.”

In many ways it does seem like a fair point –but predictably enough, there are doubters. One self-confessed sceptic told us he found much of the sponsorship negotiations recently revealed in the press “unnecessary”.

And it’s all too easy for a cynical Brit to ask, do people really buy into the “greenest Games ever” guff?

As one trendy hat-wearing twenty-something told us rather smugly: “The only time carbon’s good is at a barbecue, so low carbon? I’m all for it.”

He was so pleased with himself and so insincere, it was far easier to relate to another man out with his family after the Torch relay: “It’s about human achievement for me, sustainability is a secondary issue.”

It seems the people’s response to the twin message we see in EDF’s smothering of the Olympics in on-brand orange goes something like this: so the Games are low carbon? So you’re a sponsor? So watt.