Don’t mention the Games….

April 17th, 2013 Posted in: Industry Issues

The first rule of being a supplier to the London 2012 Games is, it seems, not to talk about being a supplier to the London 2012 Games. In fact most of what has been said by suppliers has been in outrage at the gagging order that has so far prevented those working in the construction industry from talking about their involvement in what is undoubtedly one of the biggest construction projects to have been seen in the UK in recent years. Despite the potential marketing opportunities that would have given the industry a much needed morale boost in these troubled times, the legacy of the London Games is so far one of silence and with all the hoops that suppliers need to jump through to speak out, those that persevere should probably get a medal themselves.

The latest ‘red tape’ scandal to torment us suppliers is of course the recently introduced Supplier Recognition Licensing Scheme which is run by the British Olympic Association (BOA) but has so far, failed to turn all those red lights to green in terms of promoting a company’s involvement in the event. Construction News magazine has reported that up to 17% of applications for a licence have been turned down with many others, including Lakesmere, still waiting to hear the outcome and to see if their work falls into the black hole which is an ‘excluded marketing category’.

The BOA have argued that the marketing restrictions have been put into place to safeguard the investments made by the official sponsors of the Games but is this a valid reason now, some eight months or so after the event? And what threat could a potentially much smaller construction company that merely wants to update its own website with details of a project it has worked on really pose to a large multi-million pound organisation that wants to be associated with a global sporting event? Obviously there are exceptions and it would have been equally as frustrating if the organiser of the Games had not put some regulations in place to help legitimate sponsors and suppliers distance themselves from those merely jumping on the Olympic bandwagon but surely there has to be a better way.

Indeed, it would seem that the creation of the Supplier Recognition Licensing Scheme wasn’t the first choice solution. I wonder how many other construction industry colleagues were, like a senior figure here at Lakesmere, approached by a representative of the Olympic Delivery Authority to be asked their thoughts on how much they would be willing to pay for the privilege of promoting their work for the London Games. With figures upwards of £15k being touted, clearly this was a non-starter but the subsequent introduction of the confusing, long-winded and often futile licensing system has not faired much better.

So what’s next for the thousand of suppliers who like Lakesmere, can’t talk about the great work they have done and the contribution they have made to the unarguably successful and inspiring London 2012 Games? Well for Lakesmere at least, just one look at the dramatic roof of the London Aquatics Centre tells you the story that we at the moment cannot.

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2 Comments to “Don’t mention the Games….”

  1. Jim Harris Says:

    Ironic really, Lakesmere and many others did a brilliant job on the Olympics but still can’t tell the media. Had they adopted G4S’s approach the column inches would have been overwhelming.

  2. Neil C Says:

    I work in marketing, and many of my clients played a part in Olympic projects. Given how tough these recessionary times are, being able to promote their involvement could make all the difference to them. It’s a shame they can’t major on this due to ever more restrictive red tape!

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