Visa settle for Silver as the BBC takes Gold in Olympic branding negotiation

Olympic-handover-announcement-group-shot
all smiles; announcing the acts for the VISA London 2012 party in July

in a few hours the Olympic Games will be handed over from Beijing to London.  to celebrate, the city is hosting a party on the Mall.  McFly and The Feeling are going to play.  its all very exciting for everyone taking part.

its also been an exciting time for Visa – the corporate sponsor of the party – and the BBC.  they've had to come to an agreement over the prominence of Visa's branding on the stage.  why?  because its going to be broadcast live on BBC One and Radio 2, and the presence of Visa's branding contravenes BBC's editorial guidelines on product visibility.

this is only the earliest of many negotiations that brands will be engaged with over the coming four years in the run up to and during the 2012 Olympics.  in the wake of TV trust scandals over the last few years – and specifically the BBC / Robinsons association (read: sponsorship) of Sports Personality of the Year controversy – the BBC is more keen than ever to ensure that its seen to be upholding its own standards of non-commerciality.

but this poses a big problem for LOCOG and Olympic sponsor brands… how many future marketing opportunities are going to be compromised because of the BBC's stance?  the contradiction that lies at the heart of the debate is that the BBC is the broadcast partner of a commercial event.  LOCOG has to facilitate a better deal on this… Visa has given the most ground this time – but we need to avoid setting a dangerous and potentially costly precedent.

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