This month the BBC broadcast a programme: Black Power Salute. The programme notes read:
"Film about one of the most iconic images of the 20th century, when the radical spirit of the Sixties upstaged the greatest sporting event in the world. Two men made a courageous gesture that reverberated around the world and changed their lives forever. There were a number of unforgettable performances at Mexico City Olympic Games and many world records were broken, but the enduring image from the 1968 Games was when African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their gloved clenched fists in support of the Black Panther movement during the Star Spangled Banner, after receiving gold and bronze medals for the 200m sprint. They were subsequently banned from the Games for life. This documentary asks what inspired them to make their protest, why it carried such a powerful message and what happened to the unlikely revolutionaries following the Games."
This excellent programme will hopefully be replayed on other BBC channels in the near future.
The producers managed to capture the broad sweep of history which culminated in the black power salute in 1968 but also brought the story up to date. The San Jose State University, where the runners studied, unveiled a statue in 2005 in commemoration of the runners stand at the Olympics, but then you have to ask where was the Australian Peter Norman who came second?
My thinking was that the statue should really be complete as Peter Norman also participated in the protest by wearing a supportive badge, a group of black and white athletes fighting against discrimination. As ever a little knowledge is dangerous! Staff at the university have informed me that the second place has been left deliberately empty so that people can take their own stand and participate in this iconic image. http://www.sjsu.edu/news/news_detail.jsp?id=1426
In the light of the recent fracas caused by Jesse Jackson's comment re Barack Obama, the statue clearly highlights how life moves on and new perspectives come into view. Even the "old style" Jesse Jackson protest ideology becomes outworn and is usurped by refreshed ideas. Have we gone beyond "them and us" and now we are all to be engaged?
For further on this is a recent "Communities Dominate Brands" blog: http://communities_dominate.blogs.com/brands/2008/07/serving-the-gre.html
Just as the British Grand Prix arrives on the calendar we not only see the retirement at the end of the season of David Coulthard but also the loss of the Grand Prix at Silverstone to Donnington Park by 2010.
There are many things playing into this decision no doubt: financial, personalities and big business but did Silverstone lack the inner drive to raise the stakes? Just look at this dreadful logo for the circuit. Fine: red, white and blue, not unexpected. Jagged arrows in an attempt to portray dynamism but then the whole piece is orientated downwards to the right. With that emblem surely you were onto a loser from the outset of this rebranding?
Claiming to be one of the, "... most famous sporting venues in the world with years of experience in managing world-class motor racing events.", yes but perhaps not brand management - how far and how deep does brand management affect a business?
What of Donnington Park the hosts of the British Grand Prix from 2010? There are a couple of images to talk about. Firstly take a look at the World Superbikes logo for the circuit: My doesn't this look familiar!! The blue is trying to rise to the occasion but is then hit hard by the over laying of the red splash which is not really going anywhere. Very uncomfortable.
You have to wonder though how the Donnington Park team of Simon Gillett and Lee Gill secured the British Grand Prix when their overall business logo is this boring retro lumpy thing!
I suppose if you have £100m in your back pocket for a revamp there will be money enough to refresh the dynamism of their brand identity.