Marketing Doctor John Tantillo’s Winner and Loser of The Week: New York Knicks and Olympic Branding


Brand Winner…

And Loser…


Marketing Doctor John Tantillo’s Winner and Loser of The Week

Winner: NY Knicks


Loser:  Olympic Branding



Folks, sometimes not winning something is the best medicine for a brand.

My sense is that the NY Knicks might end up being very happy that they didn’t end up keeping Linsanity in New York.

Bottom line, for all of the attention paid to Lin and all the talk that New York lost out here, I’m not convinced.  After all, despite Lin’s amazing run on the court, even before his knee issue he seemed to fizzle a bit and with any sports brand performance is key –without the performance, the brand will fade.

All the best to Lin who seems like a terrific guy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the NY Knick’s brand prospers without him. 


When does protecting your brand go too far?

The London Olympics approach is a great example.  The Olympics is a great brand, but my sense is that the current approach risks turning the Olympics into something quite negative.

A big part of the value of the Olympics brand comes from the open and time-honored spirit of the games — but what is happening London in terms of commercializing this brand could seriously hurt its long-term value and it ought to be stopped.

The following story from The National Post tells it best:

LONDON — As almost everyone in the world must know by now, there may
not be enough guards to provide security for the 2012 London Olympics
because of a planning and hiring fiasco.

Alas, there are no such concerns about the number of enforcement
officers and lawyers charged with checking for violations of the Games’
oppressive brand protection regulations.

The Orwellian-sounding Olympic Deliverance Committee has 280 Olympic
brand enforcers authorized by the government fanning across Britain this
week to ensure nobody uses the five hallowed rings for any purpose
unless they have paid a fortune to Olympic organizers to do so.

The London Organizing Committee (LOCOG) has a second team of zealots doing similar work on behalf of the rich and powerful.

Among the offences these sleuths are ferreting out under the Olympic
Games Act (2006) are putting two of the words “games” “2012” “Twenty
Twelve,” “gold,” “bronze” or “medal” in the same sentence.

Offenders could be on the hook for fines of more than $30,000.

Heck, there is even said to be a legal ban on spectators uploading
personal photos of the London Games onto social networking sites such as

Imagine the outcry in Canada if the NHL tried such heavy-handed
tactics to prevent a bar or individual from celebrating the Stanley Cup
in words or with a photo.

Predictably, the British media, which has never seen an underdog it
didn’t love, has been in high dudgeon over what it regards as a matter
of free speech. The roundup by the authorities has so far implicated an
81-year-old grandmother of six from Norfolk who made a tiny sweater with
the Olympics rings for a child’s doll that her knitting circle intended
to sell through a church charity for $1.63.

Joy Tomkins was ordered to withdraw the offending doll from sale to avoid possible legal action.

Also at risk of being put in the docket is a south London cafe, which
had the temerity to hang five bagels in its window. Community wardens
ordered the offending bagels to be removed or legal action would follow.

The parents of the Duchess of Cambridge — Kate Middleton, whose
partner, Prince William, may one day rule Britannia — may have run afoul
of the law, too. The Middletons’ potential offence was advertising
trinkets such as mugs for sale on their catering website using the words
“2012” and “Games.” The London Organizing Committee has launched an

Lord Coe, who as plain Seb Coe was once a world-class middle-distance runner, might be described as “the lord of the rings.”

Coe, who oversees the London Games, got into the churlish Olympic spirit
last week by declaring on BBC Radio 4 that if any spectator so much as
dared wear a T-shirt with the word Pepsi emblazoned on it the offender
would be banished from the venue so as to not hurt the feelings of
Coca-Cola, which has paid an undisclosed but sky-high sum to be the
Olympics’ official unhealthy drink. Here’s the link to the rest of that story.

Wow.  What can I say? No brand should be held so tightly that it can’t grow and be embraced freely, especially if it is a brand that is perceived, like the Olympics, to be the property of all of us.

And remember, it’s always easier when you keep marketing and branding in mind.


TODAY’S TANTILLO TAKEAWAY: Sometimes to protect a brand too fiercely can damage it.








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