Jumping the Olympic® shark

When a brand becomes a bully, it loses something vital.

So much money, so many egos and so many governments are involved in the Olympics now (and they have so little competition) that it has become a sterling example of what happens when you let greed and lawyers run amok over common sense and generosity.

Going after knitters and improv comedians and authors of children's books, dry cleaners, and Facebook users is not only silly, it's a dangerous symptom of corporate power. In an era when media was a top down enterprise, corporations and media companies had no trouble controlling what was said or spread, because there weren't many media companies and the lawyers all played the same game.

Today, of course, everyone is a media company. In their misguided attempt to stop guerrilla marketers, squatters and media pirates, the IOC has completely missed the point of what a brand is.

It's not a word. It's a set of expectations.

The word 'olympics' (small 'o', no lawsuits please) used to mean a competition. Then it became THE Olympics®, which is fine, but it doesn't change the language. There's still the Olympic Peninsula and the olympic ideal and all the other flotsam and jetsam of how we communicate. Cleaning up the language doesn't make the Olympics® (repeated use of the registered trademark symbol added for emphasis, not because I have to) any more valuable.  If anything, it decreases the value of event because they're making it hard to talk about it.

You can't build a brand by trying to sue anyone who chooses to talk about you.

Well, they can't sue all of us. Personally, I never watch the Olympic brand games, and the hype tires me out, but if you want to tweet without using the first person (violating their rules, as if they have the right to tell you what person to tweet in), I think that's just fine.