Simple, old-style fan zones are certainly not enough for the Olympic Games – after all, they do come with the tagline The Greatest Show on Earth.
Indeed, London looks set to host the biggest festival of all during this summer’s 2012 Olympics. Bringing IOC global partners and LOCOG sponsors additional outlets to activate around and introducing some sponsorship opportunities to non Olympic sponsors (as long as these partnerships adhere to the strict legislation of the The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act).
The Cultural Olympiad, originally the idea of Pierre de Coubertin (the inventor of the modern games), who’s vision for the global Olympic movement was to combine sport, culture and education.
This year’s Cultural Olympiad is already the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. In a city globally renowned for arts and culture – indeed, one that sometimes even styles itself as the world capital of culture – it will feature artists from all over the world and offer 10 million opportunities to get involved.
Spread over four years, it aims to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and to inspire creativity across all forms of culture. It is particularly targeted at young people and aims to encourage everyone to get into the spirit of London 2012 through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, film and digital innovation and leave a lasting legacy for the arts in the UK
The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad is the London 2012 Festival – which will open on 21 June 2012 and run until 9 September 2012.
This will feature 1000 events (some free, some ticketed): From the World Shakespeare Festival, to The River Of Music initiative, and from Film Nation, to Discovering Places and Unlimited. These will include commissions by a slew of global superstar artists ranging from pop to film, from visual arts and fashion to theatre, from circus to carnival, from opera to digital innovation.
Of course this festival offers a wealth of opportunities for sponsors – particularly those targeting a slightly difference audience from the core Olympic sports fan. With universal state funding cuts, events within the festival are being backed by sources ranging from the UK National Lottery/Olympic Lottery Distributor and Legacy Trust, the Arts Council, the Greater London Authority and LOCOG itself, as well as existing Olympic commercial sponsors and other brands too.
BP is one brand particularly active in backing both the Games and the Festival. In addition to its status as the Official Oil and Gas Partner of London 2012, it is also the Premier Partner of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival
For example, the petroleum giant is partnering with the Royal Opera House and Lausanne’s Olympic Museum on a project called ‘The Olympic Journey: The Story Of The Games’. This is a free exhibition at the Opera House exploring the story of the ancient and modern Olympic Games and it will include unique artefacts, graphics, film and audio, as well as a Hall Of Champions.
This triple alliance is backing a free exhibition telling the Olympic story through the endeavours of ancient and modern Olympians. It will include artefacts, graphics, film and audio from The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. These are being shown in London for the first time, and the exhibition therefore promises to be a highlight of the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad.
From ancient Greece to the present day, the history of the Games has been all about stories of perseverance and triumph. This will be the core theme of the exhibition. Visitors will get to see all of the Olympic Medals since 1896 and all of the Olympic Torches since 1936. There will also be a ‘Hall of Champions’ featuring the stories and inspirational achievements of great Olympians from the modern Games.
Another initiative BP is supporting is within the festival programme is London 2012 Open Weekend. More than 2.4m people have participated in Open Weekend since 2008, and in 2011 it featured more than 1,200 events across the UK.
“BP is a longstanding supporter of arts and culture in the UK, partnering with leading institutions for over 30 years, so it is fitting for us to be a Premier Partner of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, as well as an Official Partner of the London 2012 Games,” said BP’s Regional Vice President for Europe and Head of Country UK Peter Mather.
He argues that the twin sponsorships build upon the brand’s existing strengths and enables it to leverage existing relationships such as its current alliance with the Royal Opera House which brings new outstanding arts and cultural events to the country.
“Behind the great spectacle of the Olympic Games lie powerful human stories and the purpose of this exhibition is to inspire visitors by highlighting some of the remarkable athletes and tales from the rich history of the Games,” said Mather. “It will be a free, fun and popular destination and we are delighted to be collaborating with The Olympic Museum to put on a once in a lifetime experience for visitors from all over the world at the London 2012 Olympic Games.”
London 2012 TVC
London 2012 Making Of > YouTube