Day 7 – The Popsicle Stick Games, And Other Knock-offs

2 Aug

Sure, you could watch all 3500 hours of streaming video to stay up to date on the London 2012 games. But odds are you’ve got a life. Thankfully, The Wall Street Journal has a large supply of Popsicle sticks.

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News outlets around the world are in a real bind. There are strict rules about how much video footage they can use, and when they can have access to it, for their stories about the Olympic games.

That makes it a real challenging for serious publications like The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian in the UK. Which is why they’ve decided that a bit of mockery can be just the solution.

Badminton controversy via’s Homemade highlights.
(Click to watch.)

“If you missed it – here’s our cheeky way round NBC’s broadcasting regs,” The Journal offered when it posted its Homemade Highlights on YouTube. The video starts out with the high production quality you’d expect from WSJ, until this comes up.

“NBC paid over $1 billion to broadcast the London Olympics. The Wall Street Journal paid… Less than that.”

What follows is a recreation of the day’s top story, featuring what can charitably be described as a child’s puppet stage with athletes’ faces glued on Popsicle sticks and clothespins. The action plays out in rather jerky motion as a British Australian announcer covers the highlights.

McKayla Maroney mid vault in Lego. via The Guardian’s Brick-by-brick.
(Click to watch.)

“LOL this is EPIC. I may have to revise my estimation of the WSJ as stuffy and stale,” one viewer posted on YouTube. On Twitter the hashtag #homemadehighlights continues to re-post the videos.

At The Guardian in London they apparently had a bit more time on their hands, as they’ve launched Brick-by-brick, re-creations of key Olympics highlights. You really haven’t seen sports until you see the US women’s gymnastics team in Lego, or fencing with Star Wars stormtrooper figures.

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Usain – Not every man wants to be the fastest in the world.

There may be no organization more ruthless in protecting its brand than the Olympics. As people in any host city will tell you, the International Olympic Committee can be brutal in its determination not to let anyone use anything Olympic-related for commerce unless they pay a fee. That includes the word Olympics, the URL, and of course every variant of the logo.

The Olympic police have busted London bakers, florists, and even meat shops that were offering products in the familiar shape of the interlocking rings. They even convinced the British Parliament to pass a law upping the penalties for misappropriation of the marks.

And yet scofflaws persist. Whether it’s Banksy‘s latest of a javelin thrower using a missile, or a church urging parishioners to “Go for God.”

Now a UK artist is compiling the best of the offenses into a coffee table book called Illegal Olympics. Crag Atkinson, who likes to specialize in “transient” art, said he is intrigued by merchants who are determined to be part of the Olympic moment.

“My personal view is that the Olympic branding laws are too harsh and prevent the ‘British Spirit’,” he said on a site previewing the images people have sent him. “I am documenting something that won’t last, but which is here now.”

No word yet if he’ll include clothespin or Lego contributions.

About Project TILWO Every day I watch London 2012 Olympic coverage on TV and online then share the lessons I learned, with occasional help from my friends. Edited by Lynn Hess @ Premier Proofing.