Poll

Which describes you best?

A cynic who was won over by the general wonder of it all!
A cynic who enjoyed some bits, but still hate VISA, McDs etc etc ...
A cynic; if you did watch any bits, it was rubbish!
Not a cynic, but wanted to vote anyway

Author Topic: For the Cynics: were you won over?  (Read 6817 times)

mattc

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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #100 on: August 15, 2012, 09:17:59 am »
I've heard people complain they were over officious (they certainly were when I was at Sydney in 2000)
For the most part, I think they were different people at London 2012.
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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #101 on: August 15, 2012, 09:32:10 am »
At least we can laugh Bob at the volunteers who go unpaid whilst $BigCo fill their boots.   Some Big Picture, eh?

You think the volunteers were forced to do it? 

At least with volunteers you get a bunch of happy and enthusiastic people to "meet and greet", consider the minimum-wage, Burger King alternative.

Volunteers help in many walks of life, while people at the top of such organisations are being paid well (see most Charities).

Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #102 on: August 15, 2012, 09:40:53 am »
No, I don't think that they were forced to do it.   Just deviously exploited to the benefit of the greedy trouser fillers. 

I don't think that you can reasonably compare a charity with this scenario.     

As for Burger King:  Well, if you choose to eat there you deserve what you get.   One wonders why you didn't choose McD's in your analogy...

 

 

Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #103 on: August 15, 2012, 09:53:04 am »
There seems to be a developing competition to 'own' the success of the games. Cameron and Boris are keen on the 'Big Society', so for them the volunteers are the most significant factor. For unionised public sector workers the games were made possible by, and celebrated, the contribution of their class to collective well-being, even if they were not involved at all.
The most popular parts of the event, other than the appeal to patriotic sentiment of GB medals, were the opening and closing ceremonies. Those events were staged by media companies offering temporary and highly casualised work, many would have had 'intern' status, and be doing jobs for low or no pay, having got the gig through contacts.
The real winners are the groups and recording companies who have seen sales shoot up.
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/elbow-profit-from-olympic-closing-ceremony-performance-8046559.html
I can see that 'brand GB' benefits, but those are not physical sales, so costs of production don't come to GB.
I don't diffentiate between any of the paid contributors, they've received their compensation. The games were 'owned' by those who contributed freely or at their own expense. They restore my faith. Those jockeying to 'own' aspects of a triumph they had no part in restore my cynicism.

fuzzy (retd.) AAGE

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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #104 on: August 15, 2012, 09:54:15 am »
I'm not quite getting some of the anti volunteering sentiment.

Volunteering is a way that many folk can get involved with an event like this.

No one was forced to get involved for free and everyone who did knew what they were getting in to.
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Biggsy

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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #105 on: August 15, 2012, 10:00:50 am »
No, I don't think that they were forced to do it.   Just deviously exploited to the benefit of the greedy trouser fillers. 

I don't think that you can reasonably compare a charity with this scenario.

The volunteers' work benefited the members of the public who enjoyed the Games - live and via television.  That's a vast number of people.  It made people feel happy.  That's comparable with charity.  Most of the money ultimately would have come from tax payers if the volunteers were paid.
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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #106 on: August 15, 2012, 10:10:02 am »
I can see the individual perspective quite clearly.   What I find really quite disgusting is that such an event is swamped with volunteers to make it happen yet somehow the $BigCos can make such a healthy gain.   The rich getting richer.

I don't believe that many volunteers really fully appreciate, nor probably care I guess that Pepsi, Kraft and McD's make a huge profit out of it.   

Sorry Biggsy but making people happy per se isn't a charitable act in my book   

Fuzzy, I'm not anti-volunteering.  I do plenty of 'volunteer' or pro bono work myself - two days a week in fact.   What I find stick a bit is that the volunteers are used in order to reduce costs to make an event look viable whilst at the same time their efforts make it easier for $BigCo's to fill their boots.

fuzzy (retd.) AAGE

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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #107 on: August 15, 2012, 10:16:56 am »
PB, I am aware of your history in relation to pro bono etc. and think that your work is exceptinally valuable.

In relation to the $BigCo stuff, I may be getting the wrong end of the stick here again but, don't these companies actually stump up a not insubstantial wedge towards the setting up and running of the event in return for a bit of a closed market?

They may make money out of the event but they have to pay for the opportunity to do so, don't they?
Quote from: tatanab
The mark of a true cyclist - prepared to try anything on offer

If it ain't bad for you it ain't worth doing

Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #108 on: August 15, 2012, 10:20:21 am »
Indeed Fuzzy but obviously not enough up front otherwise we wouldn't need all these volunteers to make it viable.   

Thanks for the support Fuzzy.   :)

Biggsy

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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #109 on: August 15, 2012, 10:25:55 am »
Charity = the voluntary giving of help to those in need.  We all need happiness.  McD's etc are just making a return on their investment.  That's just normal advertising, normal capitalism.  The two different things of volunteering and commerce worked in parallel.  It's conceptually awkward, perhaps, but in practice it worked.

ps.  Pepsi wasn't a sponsor.  Coca-Cola was.
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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #110 on: August 15, 2012, 10:32:13 am »
I can see the individual perspective quite clearly.   What I find really quite disgusting is that such an event is swamped with volunteers to make it happen yet somehow the $BigCos can make such a healthy gain.   The rich getting richer.

I don't believe that many volunteers really fully appreciate, nor probably care I guess that Pepsi, Kraft and McD's make a huge profit out of it.   

Sorry Biggsy but making people happy per se isn't a charitable act in my book   

Fuzzy, I'm not anti-volunteering.  I do plenty of 'volunteer' or pro bono work myself - two days a week in fact.   What I find stick a bit is that the volunteers are used in order to reduce costs to make an event look viable whilst at the same time their efforts make it easier for $BigCo's to fill their boots.

I think that is a somewhat dated left-university perspective.
I like the Elbow song 'One Day Like This'. The definitive version is live at Abbey Road with the BBC concert orchestra. Elbow wouldn't have made much from that, but licence payers paid for the studio time, Elbow then play the closing ceremony. and sales of their album rocket. Yet this is not criticised in the same way that Maccy D are, even though the food companies are providing a physical service. There seems to be a disconnect between cultural and physical products. That mirrors the divide between 'secure' work and 'casualised' work. Volunteering is problematic because it doesn't fall into the handy categories of production and consumption, so it undermines underlying social theory.
Anyway, the Youtube clip of Elbow at Abbey Road now has very high status advertising on it, and cookies will pepper all content you view with Elbow related material. It's worth watching though.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/hk2xaeXnxlM&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/hk2xaeXnxlM&rel=1</a>

David Martin

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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #111 on: August 15, 2012, 10:33:41 am »
The benefit many of the big companies make is through branding and publicity, not through direct income. For example ATOS, the management consultant and logistics company contributed their expertise (at some considerable cost) because the publicity benefits of being able to say 'we managed the greatest show on earth' are well worth it, just as much as I contribute my time and it is percieved by me as a benefit to say 'I was there'.
None of the major sponsors made money out of the games, they aim to make money by their association with the games. The ones who made money are the contractors. The people who built the venues (tens of thousands of construction jobs). The people who supplied security staff (despite the media hype, G4S and others did provide the majority of the security staff. It was the military who got the billing for taking the high profile security role of bag searches etc. You didn't see the thousands of private security and event stewards doing their thing out of the public eye). The people who supplied food to the caterers, who printed stuff, who sold/managed furniture and fittings.

That is where the money is going, not into the pockets of ATOS, McDonalds or Coca-Cola. Their benefit is less tangible but percieved by them to be worth the 2 Billion they paid.
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TimC

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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #112 on: August 15, 2012, 10:34:09 am »
I can see the individual perspective quite clearly.   What I find really quite disgusting is that such an event is swamped with volunteers to make it happen yet somehow the $BigCos can make such a healthy gain.   The rich getting richer.

I don't believe that many volunteers really fully appreciate, nor probably care I guess that Pepsi, Kraft and McD's make a huge profit out of it.   

Sorry Biggsy but making people happy per se isn't a charitable act in my book   

Fuzzy, I'm not anti-volunteering.  I do plenty of 'volunteer' or pro bono work myself - two days a week in fact.   What I find stick a bit is that the volunteers are used in order to reduce costs to make an event look viable whilst at the same time their efforts make it easier for $BigCo's to fill their boots.

I think we're missing the point here, somewhat. The volunteers weren't working for $bigcos, nor were they doing work that otherwise would have had to have been done (or paid for) by $bigcos. Indeed, as Fuzzy says, those companies not only had to pay a substantial wedge to be the 'official' companies; all they got in return was the right to advertise in connection with the Olympics, and (where appropriate) have sales outlets within the Games locations. I would be very surprised if any of them made significant profits from their presence at the Games, though naturally they'd be hoping for returns from the exposure.

The volunteers were working for LOCOG, and the money they saved was from the public purse - just as it effectively is the case for all charities. And, as I'm sure you appreciate PB, it's not a case of if the volunteers don't turn up, the public will pick up the tab - in most cases, if volunteers don't turn up, the work just doesn't get done. That would have been a disaster!

ETA: the artists and celebs hired for the opening and closing ceremonies were each paid £1. They, of course, will also all be hoping for profitable spin-off from having been involved, though no doubt many will have been proud to have been able to participate.

Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #113 on: August 15, 2012, 11:22:58 am »
TimC, I agree with you.   I think that you guys are missing the point somewhat.   I wish I hadn't said my piece because this is descenting into P&OBI, somewhere I avoid for the sake of having a life.

Jaded

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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #114 on: August 15, 2012, 01:26:55 pm »
What was great about the volunteers was their relationship with the event. It was absolutely direct.

As soon as you inject an employer, or terms and conditions such as pay or a contract, you change that relationship and you get a different response from the employee as compared with the volunteer. Additional frictions appear, such as how much/when/how I am going to get paid; how good the management is, what my conditions are like etc.

This was definitely the case with the few G4S people I came across. They were clearly working for G4S, not the Olympics. The Army were working for The Olympics - they get paid from the public purse and were effectively working for the public purse. Listening to the stories from willing but failing to get anywhere G4S workers, compared to those from the Volunteers about things like uniform, management etc. merely highlights this. To manage 70,000 people as was done, with almost no negative comments from the public is quite astonishing. It shows that proper management is possible. It shows that, ironically, Macdonalds know a thing or two about management as well as about exploiting people in MacJobs...
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LEE

Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #115 on: August 16, 2012, 10:02:26 am »
I don't believe that many volunteers really fully appreciate, nor probably care I guess that Pepsi, Kraft and McD's make a huge profit out of it.   


I think that's incredibly patronising.

contango

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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #116 on: August 16, 2012, 01:11:49 pm »
What the heck, I'll chime in too.

I really didn't think we'd make it work. I had visions of announcements along the lines of "we are sorry to announce that the timings for the mens 100 metres final are not currently available due to a technical failure in the timing equipment", the building not being ready, and the event turning into a national humiliation.

I was pleasantly surprised by what I did attend in person (the time trials and men's road race). I enjoyed the atmosphere there, got the chance to see Wiggo (twice) and Cav, Froome, Millar etc even if they did go by fast enough that it was almost over before it began. I watched a few bits on the TV but wasn't overly interested in the rest of it.

It was good to see a decent haul of medals for Team GB. I wasn't inclined to pay so much for tickets somewhere back in the nosebleed section to also have to spend 90+ minutes each way on public transport, submit to airport style security, stand in line to refill my water bottle and pay inflated prices for a McDisappointment. I thought the opening ceremony was impressive until the relic otherwise known as Paul McCartney ruined it with a dismal rendition of an even more dismal song (someone tell him to retire, it's not like he needs the money from any more appearances is it?). I didn't see the closing ceremony, got it recorded for my wife and may or may not watch it myself.

On the less positive side, London seems to have done very badly business-wise, having McDonalds and Coca Cola as major corporate sponsors is something of a farce when the event is one of sporting excellence ("Faster. Higher. Stronger. Do you want fries with that. Supersize for only 50p extra." doesn't really work).
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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #117 on: August 16, 2012, 07:20:43 pm »
TBH I didn't notice any of the branding by watching on TV, so if it helped pay for the beano then it's all good.  Disclaimer: I am pretty much impervious to advertising; I like what I like and that's it.
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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #118 on: August 16, 2012, 07:58:37 pm »
Disclaimer: I am pretty much impervious to advertising; I like what I like and that's it.

Very, very unlikely. Especially if you feel immune. See for example, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201008/what-does-advertising-do

Wowbagger

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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #119 on: August 16, 2012, 08:49:00 pm »
The sport was fantastic. The commercialism was total shit - there's no place for that at the Olympics.
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contango

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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #120 on: August 17, 2012, 08:42:06 am »
Disclaimer: I am pretty much impervious to advertising; I like what I like and that's it.

Very, very unlikely. Especially if you feel immune. See for example, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201008/what-does-advertising-do

Interesting article, although I guess a lot of the associations modern day advertising uses relate to things that don't make me feel positive so the advertising still doesn't tend to work much. For good measure I'm not into buying endless stuff that I don't need so I'm unlikely to be making the purchase anyway.

One thing I like is keeping things that still work for as many years as I can keep them going. I've had my stereo for 23 years and counting, my TV for 11 years and counting (the previous one died after a mere 16 years), my car for 12 years. Unfortunately for the advertisers they can't pair anything with that desire in a way that will encourage me to buy their product.
Always carry a small flask of whisky in case of snakebite. And, furthermore, always carry a small snake.

Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #121 on: August 17, 2012, 09:23:33 am »
Disclaimer: I am pretty much impervious to advertising; I like what I like and that's it.

Very, very unlikely. Especially if you feel immune. See for example, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201008/what-does-advertising-do

The opening cermony, the closing ceremony and much that was in between were advertising an image of Britain as a vibrant, tolerant, inclusive and caring society, which can still compete at the highest level.
It's been quite amusing to see the various interpretations of who contributes most to this vision of Britain. Actually it's the lottery ticket buyers, who are seeking an instant escape from the everyday problems of actually living in Britain.
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Tigerrr

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Re: For the Cynics: were you won over?
« Reply #122 on: August 17, 2012, 01:00:19 pm »
The Olympics is a huge, multilayered brand with genuinely inspiring values - it really works, but its not so by chance - it is a manufactured brand.
Nobody, at corporate or personal level does anything without reason. The motivation of corporates in teh olympoics is not really much different to volouteers - to be part of it, to be able to say I was there, I contributed, I was part of this - because to do so gives both the corporate and the person a payoff.
Its not the same to say 'I was employed there' thats not putting anything in.
Both the volounteer and teh sponsors make a contribution to the event and get a payback.  IN the end both did a good job, inasmuch as the event was superbly delivered and created a level of inspirational pixie dust that must be lovely to be covered in.
G4S didnt get any pixie dust though.
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