Jul 09 | Hannah, Assistant Account Executive
“Inspire a Generation,” the slogan of the 2012 London Olympics, stirs up more than just athletic motivation. While yes, the Olympics will be swarming with weight-lifting champions and springy gymnasts inspiring young, athletic hopefuls, generations will also find inspiration outside the stadiums. From your soap to your breakfast sandwich, the Olympic rings will begin to infiltrate your every day. In the race for Olympic marketing, how do official sponsors use the event to sell their products? How do they engage consumers? Can your business use the Olympics as a marketing theme – without getting in legal trouble?
This year’s Olympic organizing committee, London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), pays for the majority of the Olympics through merchandise, broadcasting rights, and, of course, sponsorships. Corporations will shell out millions of dollars to pay for the Olympics in exchange for the rights to splash the London 2012 brand on their products. These companies like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Visa, and Adidas, can freely use the Olympic logos, as well as phrases associated with the games. As sponsors, they are guaranteed recognition through multiple media channels – whether television, print, or digital media.
These sponsors are paying money most of us simply don’t have available to use in our advertising. But, we can learn from how they use the games to their advantage to engage their audiences. McDonald’s implemented a contest to send families to the 2012 London games by enticing children ages 8-11 and their families to showcase how they spend family mealtime with a short video. Innocent is the official smoothie and juice of the Olympics and will give away tickets to the games through their “Tweet for a Seat” campaign. Followers send a tweet to Innocent telling them who they’d bring with them to the games and why, with the hashtag #tweetforaseat. Engaging consumers by invoking creativity and allowing them to feel like they’re a part of the event is a good way to promote your product.
According to a recent report, there have been over 600 accounts of ambush marketing in correlation with the 2012 Olympics during the past four years. Expected to be the biggest clash between official sponsors and those trying to piggyback, the London Olympics may have more marketing than athletic competition. LOCOG isn’t planning on letting anyone get away with ambush or guerrilla marketing though. “Ambush Police” will be patrolling all advertising and marketing efforts surrounding the games, and those found guilty of unofficial advertisements can pay up to $31,900 in fines. So, what exactly does LOCOG have under their official control? Almost everything. You can be found guilty of ambush marketing for using words like “games,” “gold,” “silver,” and “bronze.” What options does this leave unofficial sponsors this summer?
If your business is a restaurant, bar, or eatery, you’re in luck. LOCOG has provided official posters for you to download to promote that you will be showing the Olympics in your establishment. Though limiting in creativity, it draws in customers who may be looking for a place to gather with friends and family while celebrating the games. LOCOG supports communities commemorating the Olympics and wants people to enjoy themselves during the events. Putting together children’s games and handing out unmarked medals is another great way to get customers in the Olympic spirit without breaking any rules.