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An Olympic Reputation

OlympicringsLondon2012

Dost thou know what reputation is?

I ’ll tell thee,—to small purpose, since the instruction

Comes now too late.

Upon a time Reputation, Love, and Death,

Would travel o’er the world; and it was concluded

That they should part, and take three several ways.

Death told them, they should find him in great battles,

Or cities plagu’d with plagues: Love gives them counsel

To inquire for him ’mongst unambitious shepherds,

Where dowries were not talk’d of, and sometimes

’Mongst quiet kindred that had nothing left

By their dead parents: “Stay,’ quoth Reputation,

‘Do not forsake me; for it is my nature,

If once I part from any man I meet,

I am never found again.’

– Duchess of Malfi, III, ii

Zeitgeist went to see Duchess of Malfi at the Old Vic last month, a brilliant production, and was reminded of this fantastic quotation when thinking of the upcoming Olympic Games soon to descend on London. Though arguably less ephemeral than the brand of today’s salubrious celebrities – written about recently in Vanity Fair – the Games can hardly be said to provide any quantifiable burgeoning of brand to host countries of the past (except perhaps for Barcelona). As The Economist adroitly put it the other week, “When asked why the United States is a fine place, few would instinctively mention its hosting of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.”

Are Britain’s current economic woes related to anything that might be solved by hosting an Olympics? Probably not. Will the Games, much like the bloody affairs of ancient Rome, serve to please and distract the hordes? More likely. The Games themselves will have to be good enough to overcome the pre-event controversies of massive over-spending, Zil lanes, anti-missile protests and Olympic torches on eBay. Otherwise, as the above quotation describes, the reputation of many will be lost forever.

Creating a moment for your product

When you’re attempting to convey the virtues of buying confectionery, what is it that you want to communicate? Well, seeing as the product is most likely sugary in nature, mentioning or alluding to exercise or health is likely to be a no-no. And while Cadbury may be a principle sponsor of the Olympic Summer Games next year in London, seeing the Olympic rings on the side of a Crunchie Easter Egg does smack a little of incongruity, if not deceit.

Not taking yourself too seriously might also be an advantage then. Throw in some consumer research too as to what it is about your product that people enjoy the most. Above all, create a moment of magic for the consumer; show that by buying your product, they will be temporarily whisked away from temporal cares and troubles. With a very silly theme, the cognisance of a key attribute of their product, and the moment of magic, Rowntrees have really done jolly well in creating a very watchable ad for their Fruit Pastilles, one that brings a smile to Zeitgeist’s face. Kudos.