There is criticism of the news that Cadbury is to be one of the raft of corporate sponsors for the 2012 Olympics in London.
Public health officials claim the decision to accept a reported £20m worth of sponsorship from the Birmingham-based confectionery manufacturer.
With cases of childhood obesity and diabetes running at alarming levels, health campaigners believe the choice of Cadbury as a corporate partner is ill-judged.
They maintain it sends out completely the wrong message regarding the Olympic ideal.
But since when has that been a consideration? The Games went corporate a long time ago and big business has muscled its way into the pursuit of athletic and sporting excellence.
The Olympic motto – Faster. Higher. Stronger – has arguably taken on a very different meaning in the last 20 or 30 years. It no longer simply applies to sporting endeavour, but applies to the corporate connections of the Olympics too:
- Faster – the major motor manufacturers who invest hundreds of millions in promoting their gas guzzlers.
- Higher – the spiralling debt courtesy of financial backers, such as credit card companies.
- Stronger – the alcohol content of drinks produced some of the drinks manufacturers.
As part of the 2012 deal Cadbury will be the sole supplier of confectionery and ice cream at all London 2012 venues.
And they are joining Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, those other guardians of healthy diet, as official food and drink suppliers.
Ahead of this year’s Games in Beijing, Steven Wells wrote an excellent piece on how the Olympics has become forever lost to the forces of corporate capitalism.
London 2012 might well be a more relaxed, friendlier, less costly spectacle than the Games in China, but with £430m in sponsorship already secured out of a target of £2bn it will be just as corporate.
For that reason alone the criticism of the Cadbury deal is ill-advised.
I rather see it as a good bit of business by Cadbury, a leading UK company sponsoring the Olympics in London makes a great deal of commercial success.