Hue Robertson

The Olympics and the production Industry

RPM’s Head of Production, Rory Sloan, gives his views on how the Olympic Games will affect the Production industry.

2012 will be a fantastic opportunity for the UK to showcase what it is capable of putting together on the events front. It’s no surprise to the global stage to see Brits organising big spectaculars; in fact, many UK production personnel and suppliers are accustomed to being called in around the world to help deliver mass spectacular one-off events. However, this will be the first time in my memory that so much potential activity will be taking place right on our doorstep, and if truth be told, I’m more excited about seeing how well we can deliver the smaller events than the big ones.

There are a number of challenges in creating large spectaculars, but to me there are even more linked with getting cut through in a crowded market place during smaller events. This is where we will need to play to our creative strengths and is what will separate 2012 from any Games that have gone before it. The UK is equally blessed and cursed with having very savvy audiences who have high expectations when it comes to events, and on a daily basis we are creating those that deliver against set objectives, and very often (if not always) on tight budgets.

The limited timeframe of the Olympic Games will also affect the events industry. In the rush to deliver what clients are asking for, there is risk that agencies and production companies will not stop to ask the fundamental questions: namely, the aim behind the event and what needs to be achieved. If this is not clear from the outset then how can an event be a success? 2012 has the potential to be a phenomenal showcase for the UK event industry, but as with the Games themselves, the really crucial thing is legacy; without this, it is simply a large flash in the pan. I am biased when I say that events are fantastic, however for any brand or organisation funding one, there needs to be a very clear purpose for it. If there isn’t, then after the dust has settled and the memories of the Olympics have started to fade, people will start to ask whether it was worth it. No matter if you’re creating a dinner party for six people bringing friends together, or one for 80,000 people watching the 100m final, both need to have a real reason to happen. Losing sight of this could mean events are perceived as ‘frivolous’ or a ‘waste of money’, which would be terrible news for anyone connected with the industry.

A more positive outlook would be that although a lot of work has already been confirmed with the major players in the market, there will be a cascade effect, and plenty of small to medium size companies will be given the opportunity to shine.