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Carly Wickham, Head of Marketing

Whether it’s a recreation of the Olympic rings, focus on a particular sport, or using podiums as pedestals, there’s so much iconography associated with the Olympics for visual merchandisers to work with.

We’ve pulled together a retrospective of retail window displays from the London 2012 Olympics that were notable for their design. We’re looking forward to enjoying what 2016 has to offer.

1) Harrods

The brief was to represent the adidas brand, their products and the athletes that wear them, across 16 individual windows. A collection of the most famous Team GB athletes such as Jess Ennis and Tom Daley each had a window based upon their unique take on what London 2012 means to them.

Harrods Olympic window display bike

Creative work for the inside of Harrods to coincide with the external shop displays were installed including; walkway takeovers, installation plinths, lift wraps and graphic walls. All elements celebrate adidas’ sponsorship of the Games and provide a link from the windows to the fifth-floor sports department.

2) Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger took gold for the most inclusive take on Olympic window displays. The prominence of the Union Jack was due to the London location of the store, the focus for the 2012 games. The absence of any merchandise is bold, but the messaging is clear.

Tommy Hilfiger olympic window display globes

3) Topshop

The prominent use of the ‘Game On’ campaign throughout the 2012 Olympics was well received. The colours were led by the season and not by the sport, but the use of sports-related props and the nod to the podiums all draw in the overarching theme of the summer of sports.

TopShop olumpic window display rings mannequins

4) Joseph

Joseph’s windows were UK proud, with a huge sparkling Union Jack framing the mannequins preparing to dive. Theming the collection in red white and blue works effectively to reference back towards Team GB.

Joseph olympic window display swimming pool

5) Gant

A more subtle link through the use of Olympic coloured oars. Despite being headless, this window display still managed to make the mannequins interesting. The lockers also help to drive home the athletic theme.

Gant olympic window display colours

6) H&M London

Placing mannequins on asymmetric bars is certainly no easy task, but H&M managed to create movement effectively in the mannequins without them looking as if they have been hybridised, i.e. placed in positions that they aren’t meant to be in; which always appears odd.

H&M London Olympic Window display athletes

7) Printemps l’Homme

Simplistic and masculine. These effective displays placed merchandise cleanly on the winning podium and enveloped the lead product in clear sporting visual references.

Printemps maculine olympic window display

8) Roberto Cavalli

Roberto Cavalli worked a luxe version of the Olympic rings to be both on trend and on brand.

Roberto Cavalli olympic window display gold


As noted in our blog last week, none of these mannequins are adopting the learnings from eye-tracking analysis. Humans follow the gaze of others, but none of these windows use the gaze of the mannequins to guide the viewer on a journey, highlight a feature or lead towards a key piece of messaging.