London 2012: BBC gives first sight of Olympic titles


The BBC's Olympics titles transform the landscape of the United Kingdom into a giant sporting arena

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The BBC has unveiled the title sequence and marketing campaign for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

A 60-second trail was broadcast during half-time in the Euro 2012 final.

Based on a "Stadium UK" concept, the animation will be seen on television coverage and used on computers, mobiles, tablets and connected TV.

The track, First Steps by Elbow, will be available as a digital-only download from 27 July with all profits going to BBC Children in Need and Sport Relief.

The UK is seen as a giant stadium with Olympic athletes preparing and competing in a range of landscapes.

Scenes include:

  • Swimmers battling it out in lanes created by buoys on a net cast by a fisherman
  • A BMX rider preparing at the edge of a cliff
  • Track cyclists racing around quarries
  • Sprinters and gymnasts going through their paces on streets
Still from BBC Olympics trail

BBC 2012 marketing head Louisa Fyans said the challenge had been to create a campaign reflecting the BBC's unique role as the UK's Olympic broadcaster and the scale of the Olympic Games.

"Animation enabled us to deliver to this brief and helped us create something really special for the BBC's London 2012 campaign," she added.

The concept was devised by creative agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe Y&R. The animation was created by Passion Pictures and it was produced by Red Bee Media.

Alison Hoad, joint chief executive of Rainey Kelly, said national anticipation had been building since London was awarded the Games in 2005.

Guy Garvey Guy Garvey's Elbow have foregone fees and royalties

The agency had tried to capture national pride and excitement by depicting the UK as one huge stadium, with an "epic" anthem scored by Elbow.

Lead singer Guy Garvey told BBC 6 Music it was "a real honour and a total surprise" to have been asked.

"The BBC asked us to come in and consult. They said, 'if we asked you to do the Olympic theme, what would you do?'

During the meeting, Garvey was told he had been invited along because of Elbow's 2008 single One Day Like This, which has been used on countless sport montages.

"So I said, 'well, we can give you something similarly rousing. Something anthemic and bold. And we'd put lots of different parts in it for different parts of the coverage.'

"The Olympic Games is about the coming together of people to celebrate our best athletes and it was as important to have a sympathetic theme for the losers as it was for the winners."

"It was like a great big puzzle to put together."

The track was performed with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the NovaVox gospel choir.

Elbow have waived all fees and royalties from the digital download and the retailers have waived all profits from the release.

The full 2min 40secs version of the the trail will be broadcast at 19.30 BST on Tuesday 3 July on BBC One with 60, 40, 30 and five second edits used throughout the campaign.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    Very, very poor! The Brits are usually exceptional at thinking outside the box but 'character animation' is never taught properly to students... and boy it shows here! Phony character concepts, weightless unbelievable action and poorly structured filmmaking techniques. This insults many of the incredible athletes who are working their butts off to succeed at the London Games! Shame. :(

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    I'm French and you guys should be proud to be paying for the BBC, it's one of the best thing you have in England, they creat amazing content.
    They make you look good all around the world.
    Making this video was important to show the involvement in the games. And choosing animation was, I think, a great way to promote UK film/animation industry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    Hi, I work in live-action, and I can tell you that filming the real athlete, or even actors would have cost much more money to the BBC.
    The CG was done by UK company, Passion Pictures, created in the 80's and which made the Gorilaz videos. It might not be Wallace and Gromit, but i don't think UK animation should be limited to one style. Those guys created the Meerkats. That's pretty Brit to me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    As someone who does 3D modelling I think that the whole animation is lovely. The models themselves are nicely stylised yet detailed and the animation is fluid and well made. I can't see why people are having problems with it being GCI and not actors or athletes (not like their busy at the moment preparing for the games)

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    It's trying to be too understated and British, completely missing the point that this is London 2012, and that London is a global city for the global games. It also avoids any contemporary design that could be used to reinforce that position. Shame - we've got a lot to be proud of here and should be making more noise about it.


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