‘Celebrate humanity’ or ‘consumers?’: a critical evaluation of a brand in motion

Maguire, Joseph, Barnard, Sarah, Butler, Katie and Golding, Peter (2008) ‘Celebrate humanity’ or ‘consumers?’: a critical evaluation of a brand in motion. Social Identities, 14 (1). pp. 63-76. ISSN 1350-4630

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504630701848598


The Olympics is a global event that acts as a carrier of cultural meanings and identities that are available to international audiences and markets. Our wider project examining the Athens Olympic Games seeks to investigate how such meanings are re-represented, distributed, and marketed by the media-sport complex. Here, we investigate how the initial formulation, development and use of the ‘Celebrate Humanity’ programme was framed by the IOC marketing department as a way both to deflect criticism of the IOC and as one means by which to provide ‘added-value’ to TOP sponsors. Attention is given to two main sources: IOC documents and interviews with personnel from TOP sponsors and representatives from their advertising agencies. Our conclusion is that this programme, and the wider Olympic movement, is characterized by a basic contradiction between the ideals of ‘Olympism’ and the realities of the modern Olympics in practice. The ‘message’ becomes embedded in a broader process of commerce whereby the media/marketing/advertising/corporate nexus is concerned less with the values underpinning Olympism per se and more with how such values can help build markets, construct and enhance brand awareness and create ‘glocal’ consumers/identities. ‘Celebrate Humanity’ is no exception.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: branding, consumption, Olympics, media-sport
Subjects: N500 Marketing
P200 Publicity studies
P300 Media studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
Depositing User: Helen Pattison
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2012 10:03
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 19:40
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/7914

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