NBC’s Olympic branding
NBC have received plenty of flack for their Olympic coverage – editing out references to 7/7 etc. When I saw their identity for the event I had a quiet chuckle over the visual language. I can’t quite get my head around it – is it supposed to be British iconography given the ‘flying metal sports badge’ treatment we all recognise from U.S. television idents? Or is the badge supposed to be more like something they imagine going on a British sports blazer? Is Big Ben (or Elizabeth Tower for you pedants) there as a kind of ‘as near as we get to a skyscraper’ kind of thing? It certainly looks most dynamic. I guess there is a reason they have not used the official games identity. As indeed the BBC have also chosen not to (below).
All in all NBC’s American/British logo is a fine example of one culture representing another and somehow getting it a bit ‘off’. Is it Anglicised Americana? Or Americanised Britishness? The Grayson Perry exhibition at the British Museum last year had a room where various cultural signifiers were adopted by other nations and in the process subtly took on the visual DNA of the adopter. The sculpture of a European family from the Qing Dynasty (below) was one of the pieces he showed.
The NBC badge feels like it follows in this venerable tradition and proves that while television might have made the world a global village, we still seem to talk with distinct local accents. If this sounds slightly smug, I share these thoughts mindful that when we adopt cultural references from afar it’s pretty certain that we too get them a little bit skewed.