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Leithal Thinking Brand & Marketing Consultancy

Brand workout time for the Commonwealth Games?

Brand workout time for the Commonwealth Games?

28/09/10 in Communications

Here at Leithal Thinking we’re pretty excited about the Commonwealth Games coming to Glasgow in 2014. It means we can bypass having to schlep down to the London Olympics, negotiate baffling ticketing systems and worry ourselves about terrorists. Instead we can just nip over to Glasgow, see some phenomenal world-class sport and be home in time for tea and Taggart.

We’ve also been doing some work for the Scottish Government and the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, coming up with design work around the handover from Delhi to Glasgow – which we’ve enjoyed doing very much.

So, all the press commentary this week about the Commonwealth Games generally losing their mojo is a worry to the Leithal Thinkers.

It got us thinking that the overall concept of the Commonwealth Games feels in need of some refreshment and repositioning. Hot off the starting blocks, here are some ideas:

Image: The King of Scotland by ewanmcdowell on Flickr

Get angry 
The biggest risk to the future credibility of the Commonwealth Games is not dodgy accommodation, but the likes of Chris Hoy feeling forced to pull out of the Commonwealth Games because of conflicting qualifiers for the Olympics. Surely, (surely, surely!) this can be addressed, and if not, the Commonwealth Games should get properly angry (and I’m talking nothing short of Michael O’Leary angry here).

Up the grudge factor
The Commonwealth Games basically bring an odd selection of countries together because of a bit of shared history. In this sense, the Games are more like the Calcutta Cup, The 6 Nations Rugby or the Boat Race: oddities, and ancient grudges - but (highly competitive) national obsessions at the same time. So let’s bring on Peter Snow with a Commonwealth Games swingometer dramatising the ancient grudges that lurk behind the lawn bowls, or unearthing the bitter sporting feuds between Guernsey and the Cook Islands. And who wouldn’t be interested in seeing Scotland and England go head to head in the ten pin bowling (a recognised Commonwealth Games sport since 1998 according to Wikipedia).

Image: Atafu Atoll by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center on Flickr

Make us care
It’s the heros and antiheros who make these big sporting numbers memorable – the Eddie the Eagles, and Eric the Eels of this world. Surely the Commonwealth Games give rise to the most fantastic real-life stories of any major sporting gathering. I’d genuinely like to know what it’s like to be an international athlete living on the coral atoll of Tokelau. And I would love to know what it means to an athlete to represent Rwanda in the country’s first ever Commonwealth Games. Journalists, documentary makers – get on the case forthwith!

Image: 2014 Celebration Cake by Paul Robertson on Flickr

Do it for the kids
The Commonwealth Games are the only chance many countries, (like Scotland), get to compete in a multi-sport event as a nation. This means you finally get to shout for your own country, wave your own flag and tingle at your own anthem, plus also it gives you a fighting chance of making it into the team one day. So surely the Commonwealth Games are the event to get the kids inspired. So let’s gather a goodwill message from every child in Scotland and send it to the Scottish team in Delhi. And then let’s ask the International Cycling Union to write to every Scottish school explaining why their stupid, stupid event scheduling means Scottish kids can’t see Chris Hoy wave a victorious saltire flag in Delhi.

Main Image: Underpass by DavidDMuir on Flickr

Tags: Commonwealth Glasgow