The Olympic season is an exciting time indeed. Aside from the fun of watching the games, the feature stories get me EVERY TIME. The homeless kid, the determined father, and the generous coach all cause me to swell up with pride. We are all Americans. What does this mean? It means we overcome adversity and we wear our stars and stripes on our sleeves…not our brands.
When I think of Ralph Lauren ads, I think the same thing. I think rugged and real Americans (most of the time anyway. Sometimes it’s too costumey and Hamptons but everyone has their bad days) and I like it. Okay, so most Americans aren’t nearly as good looking as the ones Lauren depicts. But, still. Ralph Lauren offers a rough and tumble version of America ala Teddy Roosevelt. Men and women hiking or lounging in gloriously American settings.
That’s why I am so pissed off that Ralph Lauren is dominating an amazing opportunity with his selfishness. His brand and namesake has been chosen as the official outfitter of Team USA. He is responsible for the dressy parts of the Olympic games (big things like the opening and closing ceremonies). But instead of embracing the stars and stripes, Lauren decides to make it all about himself. Even worse, his wonderfully selfish move is glorified on his website. He says “What a privilege it is to be the official outfitter of Team USA for the 2012 Olympic Games. The Olympic Games are the ultimate tradition of international competition, sportsmanship and personal excellence.” Personal excellence, you say? But it gets even worse. His glorious uniforms are…..wait for it…made in China!
Okay, let’s be honest here. Ralph Lauren isn’t the first brand to translate the Olympic Games into dollar signs. The Olympics have been used to sell toothpaste for darn sakes.
But what Ralph and his cronies have done with this latest move is the equivalent of casting Brad Pitt as Abe Lincoln because Pitt has better hair. They have put the Ralph Lauren logo front on center on their pièce de résistance, a navy blazer, and the American flag and Olympic rings are barely visible. This doesn’t sit well with me. Betsy Ross did not stitch a polo playing man on a horse for a reason.
Another point for Capitalism.
HOLD UP! After members of Congress threatened to burn the uniforms, Ralph and Co. sent out a press release promising to change their tactics for the 2014 games. No word on the polo man, though.
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