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Olympic Games 2012: Logo

Volume 692: debated on Wednesday 13 June 2007

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether they will reconsider the choice of logo for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games in view of the publicity generated by its unveiling on 4 June.

My Lords, the brand was developed by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. We believe that the new London 2012 brand will establish the character and identity of the 2012 Games, both nationally and internationally. The Government will not ask LOCOG to reconsider it.

My Lords, given that a great deal of the financing will be underpinned by merchandising, much of which will be based on the logo, the public’s response to the logo might give rise to the concern that the very large sums of running money that could be raised through merchandising might be lost and therefore might not be available to the Olympics. Will the Government consider an open competition so that the public could participate in looking for a logo that might meet with a good deal more public approval?

My Lords, as I indicated, the logo is the responsibility of LOCOG, not of the Government. The noble Lord will at least concede that the purpose of a logo is to identify the brand in question and bring it to everyone’s attention. This brand has certainly drawn the nation’s attention.

My Lords, it may be uninspiring to some and inspiring to others. It is clear that the brand is meant to be a multi-media attraction. The noble Lord may have seen it only within the framework of a newspaper and the rather dated and static concept of the development of the logo. As for costs, LOCOG was concerned that a number of organisations should submit bids. This was the best bid; this is the result.

My Lords, does the Minister, or anyone, know what happened to the Millennium Dome logo? Is there not a lesson for us there?

My Lords, I cannot recall the Millennium Dome logo attracting quite the degree of attention which this logo has done. Already it may have made a step forward towards its objectives.

My Lords, what is the Minister’s opinion on the failure to make sure photo-sensitive epileptics were considered in taking forward the programme? As a logo to cover the Paralympic Games also, this was rather an appalling oversight. Who is responsible for making sure that the company answers to this, and in what form should that take place?

My Lords, the Government and LOCOG share the noble Lord’s concern about the logo’s effect on epileptics—a small number admittedly—and the distress caused as a result of the programme which followed the launch. It is not caused by the logo; it is caused by the subsequent video. Those who developed the logo are responsible for commissioning that launch; therefore, they are taking up with the company that produced that presentation why it did not test it sufficiently to avoid this unfortunate, even catastrophic development for some people. Television companies also have some responsibility for not broadcasting anything which might cause similar distress.

My Lords, that is a commercial agreement between LOCOG and the company which produced the logo. It is not out of keeping or out of step with the development of logos in a whole range of private activities. I emphasise that the taxpayer has not subsidised the logo; the cost comes out of the LOCOG budget, which it derives entirely from private resources.

My Lords, does the Minister accept that the purpose of a logo is not just, as he said, to bring public attention to the product but to say something about it? What does the 2012 Olympics logo say about the 2012 Olympics?

My Lords, it says that the Olympics will be held in 2012, although I am sure I am not alone in the House in having taken a little while to tumble to that fact when I first saw the logo. But I am assured it grows on one and I hope that it is growing on me.

My Lords, does the Minister agree that the Olympics logo is a very good and very intriguing graffiti tag? Does he also agree that its effect as it spreads out all over London will be to make tagging respectable and that the less good graffiti artists will be discouraged from defacing our city?

My Lords, I am not sure that I can attest to that beneficial result of decreasing graffiti. The logo is certainly different from anything we have seen before or had anticipated. In that respect, it is thoroughly modern.

My Lords, does my noble friend recall when the Post Office brand was changed to Consignia? That happened quite a few years ago, but I think he was in his position then. Does he recall how much it cost to put the whole thing right after the public said that it did not want Consignia, it wanted the Post Office?

My Lords, as I recall, the Consignia logo was a failure. The 2012 Olympics logo is going to be a raging success.

My Lords, does the noble Lord propose to give the same answer to a question about the changing of the logo on the tailfins of British Airways aircraft?

My Lords, we can all recall the history of failed attempts, but there have been striking successes too, not all of them forecast. We have no reason to expect that this logo will not hit its target, and I am sure that the whole House will join with me in this respect: it is important that we celebrate the fact that two years ago London won the bid for the Olympic Games. The nation looks forward to those Games being hugely successful.