Terence Blacker: Wanted... one fun, funky Olympic Laureate

We all know Britain's great, but, in a personality-led culture, we need to put a face on that greatness
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The Independent Online

Look, I know that the decision has only just been made, but already those of us in the image business have started asking ourselves one passingly urgent question about London's Olympic Games: exactly where is the promo package?

We live in world where PR sets the agenda. Getting a few middle-aged men in blazers to deal London into the Olympic bonanza is fine but, as Lord Seb has said, the real work starts here. So let's crack a few ideas together and see if we can make an omelette. We'll be going on a major bullet-point offensive among Britain's top concept-meisters over the next few weeks but, in the meantime, here are a few basic scenarios to set the ball rolling.

A caring yet feisty celebrity

Britain's really great, we all know that, but, in a personality-led culture we need to put a face on that greatness. We could wheel on some bland, concerned dignitary - Sir Steve Redgrave, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Trevor McDonald - but frankly, for all their gongs and titles, these people lack the kick-ass, can-do, hang-loose kind of vibe that we're looking for.

One of the following future peers of the realm should front up, PR-wise:

1. Sir Ben Elton. Zany yet sensitive. A lefty yet deep down as Brit as a banger. "My name is Sir Ben Elton and these are the London Olympics." It could work.

2. Sir Amir Khan. Cool, hungry and a great little scrapper from up north, Sir Amir will be the acceptable face of multicultural Britain.

3. Dame Tracey Emin. Tough yet sensitive, raunchy but a bit of a thinker, Tracey's definitely at board level in UK Creative Industries plc and her checkout-girl-made-good schtick might just blow wind up the skirt of the foreign consumer.

4. Some kid athlete, maybe a bit disabled but not depressingly so, from an inner city. Children are the future, and at the end of the day it's all about the next generation blah-blah ... A bit old hat, but always plays well.

A catchy but classy theme tune

We live in a singalong society - get the right backing track and you'll shift units. Our options for the British Olympic song range from trad to trashy.

1. "Jerusalem". "And do those feet ...?" Cue athletes' feet pounding the track. "Arrows of desire ..." Cue archery. On the face of it, the song is perfect, but we've picked up problems with William Blake's overall concept. Role-model-wise, "Jerusalem" is not a great representative of international harmony. Then there's the danger of some bright spark from Israel claiming that, if Jerusalem really was builded here, he has the right to run for Britain. We could live without the hassle.

2. Robbie Williams' "Angels". A great anthem, but does it have what it takes to grab the world by throat and say, "Listen up, guy, these Games are gonna rock your world!" Somehow we doubt it.

3. "Rule Britannia". An oldie but goodie, this ties in with the Cool Britannia concept skein (except, in our version, she's a babe called Kool Brit) we've been working on. A team of creatives are trying to work out how to give the whole "rules the waves" thing a bit of a swerve. Waves are fine - remember the Guinness ad - but there's something a bit power-trippy about ruling them. Britannia shares the waves? Gets on down and parties with the waves? Welcomes the waves into the socially inclusive and dynamic melting-put that is modern Britain? We need to work on this.

A cute animal that ticks all the boxes, merchandising-wise

We've brainstormed around which little critter sums up the unique selling points of Britain and so far have drawn a blank. Among the rejects are Baz Bulldog, (too ugly), Laz Lion (too imperial) and Shaz the Shetland pony (too Scottish). At the moment, Chaz the Cockney Sparrow leads the field but my feeling is that we haven't cracked it yet.

A fun, funky Olympic laureate

Not you, Andrew Motion! Let's bring in someone who can bring a bit of hip verse to the games just like the Greeks or whatever in the olden days. At the moment, we're going for Kenzie, the cute but subversive rapper who starred in Celebrity Big Brother. He talks right, sounds right, and his face won't crack the camera. Who better to speak for Kool Brit in 2012?

Miles Kington is away

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