Friday, 3 August 2012

The Opening Ceremony, big cojones & brands…

What a night Friday was… it seems like an age ago already thanks to the huge wave of sport we’ve enjoyed since but it’s worth casting your mind back and thinking, what can we take from that wonderful, mad, show?

1.    Let the story-tellers tell the story

Seb Coe didn’t create the Olympic Opening ceremony, nor did Jacques, Boris or DC – Danny Boyle did. There was a brief sure, and there were probably numerous fights along the way… but essentially they trusted Danny to tell the story far better than they ever could have.

2.    Fireworks are nice…

As a whizz-bang ending, not as the story.

3.    Mix the type of people you play with

Yes celebrities might help draw a crowd but what really won a lot of us over was the real people stories… the dancers, the nurses, the kids, the future athletes…

4.    The right brief

I’d love to read the original brief for the Opening Ceremony. What’s clear was that it wasn’t overly prescriptive and it wasn’t predicated on how many tweets it might get, how many likes it might get, how big an audience it would get even. It would have been built around words like humour, involve, warmth, historic and story… not objective, mandatory and measurement.

5.    Multi-layered stories

How many layers did the Opening Ceremony have?  How many disparate groups did it appeal to? Too often brand marketers are still focusing on narrowing their messaging down to one clear thought, to one idea, to ‘make a great ad’. What they should be doing is trying to widen it out to have lots of ideas, lots of nuances, lots of layers… if you’re brand has one idea or one layer, it’s a pretty weak brand.

6.    Have a sense of humour

James Bond & HM, Mr Bean, bogey gags, fart gags, bouncing punks, Paul McCartney… the whole show was packed with gags in a way none of us really expected but all universally loved… they relaxed us at exactly the right points. This is a really difficult one for a lot of brands, but if you can’t describe your brand’s sense of humour it’s unlikely people will ever love it – who likes anyone who doesn’t have a sense of humour?

7.    Change the scenery

Be where you’ve always been and present yourself as you always have and people will ignore you like they’ve always ignored you.

8.    Sometimes, bonkers is good

Sometimes, it’s the bonkers bits that create the most conversations…

9.    Have some balls

This is the key isn’t it? The Opening Ceremony had Huge Cojones. It was different from every other opening ceremony… daring, inventive, original, relevant, warm, funny, bit mad, bit genius but my god, huge balls.

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