And now, the obligatory 2012 Summer Olympic W5 blog post:

Let it be known that I hate merchandising “tie-ins.” They tend to further degrade bad food and lousy movies, but I get especially peeved when the practice attaches itself to something that at least tries to offer us something soley for the sake of ‘giving back,’ as does the Olympics.

The Olympics has many committees, but one in particular, the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), is responsible for keeping tabs on official Olympic sponsors, companies who pay dearly for the right to be called “official” Olympic sponsors. But that can’t stop Toby Leigh, the Hackney-based illustrator, from plying his trade to Olympic-themed products. Working in conjunction with the UK-based acccessories designer Elaine Burke and Khama, a women’s micro-lending cooperative of knitters and sewers located in Malawi, Leigh’s unofficial Olympic products, namely a simple tote bag, are flying off the shelfs of UK stores that also carry the requisite mascost stuffed animals, t-shirts and Union Jack flags.

What’s most interesting about his tote is that they’re not designed for Olympic tourists, but rather UK locals. He calls them “reality check” bags, a nod to the people of greater London who still have to go through the everyday regardless of the onslaught. Tagged with slogans such as “It only took me three hours to get to work this morning,”and “I’m renting my flat to a fat American family” these statement bags poke fun of the event. The “I’ve got missles on my rooftop” offering was a last-minute nix.

For the next few weeks, unfortunate Londoners stuck in town over the summer holidays dealing with a double dose of summer tourists can now share a common bond when pressed into the 5:15 Tube, stuck between an Ohioan and Berliner, commuting home from just another day in the city.

And if you’re not attending, you can still pick up the bag at www.thatbigeventlondon.co.uk and do your part. Cheers!

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