Who Were the Digital Olympians?

Well that was all a bit special, wasn’t it? Apart from the closing ceremony that is, which was the only downer in the last two weeks of trashing the idea that Britain is great at music but rubbish at sport. So while the sun-kissed memories of the glory from London 2012 are still fresh, here are a few observations for you to mull over in a golden haze.

I’ll spare you all the ins and outs of my amazing day around the Olympic Park, but while the real-life experience was brilliant the digital side of things did leave a lot to be desired.

It was notable that what the majority of sponsors were doing in the Park wasn’t much removed from the ‘build a good-looking box and they will come’ approach, and as a result it felt like an opportunity to wow the hundreds of thousands of people on site with something interactive and engaging was lost.

And this is true outside of the Park as well. I don’t think you can point to much done by members of the Olympic family that’s been jaw-droppingly innovative digitally. No doubt some of the LOCOG restrictions played a part, but while these might have been ‘the digital Games’, it wasn’t necessarily true all the time.

Thank God for the BBC then, which really did win the Games in terms of digital hi-jinks. The smorgasboard of narrowcasting really, really worked. Who knew that the world needed eight hours uninterrupted coverage of the slalom kayaking? Its own data also showed, as if you needed reminding, that consuming content on the move is here to stay. So you’d better start empathetically designing for that second screen. Now.

LOCOG itself played a blinder in terms of digital and social media and this presentation will show you the jaw-dropping stats. And yet all this grazing on different pieces of Olympics content still didn’t dampen the ardour of people to sit around together and watch the big set piece events together. As much as NBC did things wrong with its coverage for the USA, clearly time-delaying certain finals worked, as they saw the biggest audience for an Olympiad ever.

And with the Paralympics already spawning great creative work – if you haven’t seen Channel 4’s superlative ‘Superhumans’ ad treat yourself now – I think the fun isn’t over just yet.