NBC v. BBC: American and British Olympic Ideals

Both the British broadcaster BBC and the official American broadcaster NBC released their trailers for Olympics Coverage this past week.

The BBC went with the sweet electric voice of Ellie Goulding and a girl in gold going to a rooftop party for the Olympics Opening Ceremony:

I can understand them wanting to fit with the LOCOG’s idea of branding London and the UK in a new light. But I also love the fact that the girl gets dressed up to watch the opening ceremonies in real life as opposed to a TV. I mean…this is a TV commercial for primarily a sports event. But because the BBC is a public service broadcaster, the commercial is about getting the public excited that the Olympics are in their town.

NBC went with cheering, yelling, and Michael Phelps (also Ryan Lochte as a possible usurper!):

NBC’s trailer is more about the fact that you should be watching every second of every day and on all your screens JUST IN CASE there’s another Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt moment. Yes, you should watch all day, every day, because there’s no instant replay show after each day or video sharing site or anything. Also, there is particular emphasis on American athletes, which is fine, because look how adorable and excited they are! Of course, that section ends on how the United States will win ALL the medals, which is a little embarrassing.

Curious to see what past trailers looked like, I checked YouTube and Vimeo. In summary: the BBC BRINGS IT EVERY TIME. NBC can edit in as many slow-motion moments as it wants, but the BBC just makes everything so gosh darn beautiful.

Here’s the BBC Vancouver trailer:

Considering they’re not highlighting their own country as the setting of the Games, it’s a good trailer in terms of getting to the “Olympic Spirit” what with the emphasis on sports rather than country.

The NBC trailer is more of the cheering and American athletes, but also something more:

First, there’s the inspiring music, which is awesome, but also an emphasis on how sports trumps “war…crime…depression.” Another athlete highlights it as being something “our country needs.” So: less about amazing moments and more about a salve against the crumbling American economy.


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