The Olympics are now in full swing, Hidilyn Diaz has given the Philippines its first Olympic medal in twenty years and Michael Phelps has won his 21st Olympic gold medal. But almost a week in, what are the big brands (both official sponsors and not) doing to capitalise on this major sporting event?
New Rules and Marketing Freedom
This year, marketers have been given a gift: the relaxing of rule 40 of the Olympic Charter. This policy was created in order to avoid over-commercialisation and to preserve the Games’ source of funding, however this year brands have been granted permission to build campaigns around the Olympics as long as they don’t use Olympic symbols or certain key terms.
This is huge for marketers, who previously would have had to have their campaign strategies approved, and well-known brands such as Red Bull and Under Armour have taken advantage of this positive change.
Whether it’s due to this relaxation, the constant television coverage or social media discussion, Google searches for the Olympics have risen greatly since the games started on Friday 5th August 2016. Something you can see from the Google Trends chart below.
So, how is NBC (the official coverage host) marketing this year’s Games? Well, besides the usual offline marketing, NBC has launched an expansive online campaign aimed at younger viewers. It has partnered with Buzzfeed in order to produce content for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and a number of other major social media platforms and apps.
Teenage viewers (between 12 and 17 years old) increased by around a quarter between the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games, and Rio is hoping to continue this growth. In order to reach this more youthful demographic, NBC is marketing the Games through more alternative means and has employed Buzzfeed to populate an Olympics Snapchat Discover Channel. This will feature live stories from the event, showing not only the athletes competing, but interviews and interactions with the supporters in the crowds.
Coca Cola #ThatsGold
Beverage brand Coca Cola is the longest continuous sponsor of the Olympic Games and this year is set to be bigger than ever. Coca Cola’s Rio Olympics #ThatsGold campaign targets 50 national markets.
The campaign uses footage of nearly 80 athletes from 23 countries in fully-operational real-time marketing, where its Rio hub will create real-time content based on social conversation.
— Coca-Cola (@CocaCola) August 4, 2016
Kate Hartman, Director of Global brand PR for The Coca Cola Company, has told Campaign Live:
“London was really just the start of what it meant to be social and to be part of the Olympic Games. In a few weeks’ time, we’re going to look back and really see what it means to see a true ‘Social Olympics’ unfold,”
“One thing we learned from the 2012 Olympic Games in London and also the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil is that teens don’t want to be spectators – they want to be participants. Our digital efforts aim to engage teens in what’s happening beyond what they see on TV and bring them into the Rio 2016 experience.”
Airbnb is now the Olympics’ first official ‘alternative accommodations’ sponsor and is celebrating with a campaign centred around its 20,000 rooms, apartments and houses found across Rio, their hosts and the sports tourists coming to the country for the event.
#StayWithMe (#SejaMeuHóspede in Portuguese) is a social video campaign that gets to know the accommodation hosts that visitors could stay with and how this offers a friendly, more-authentic experience. Airbnb is encouraging its customers to engage with the campaign by sharing their own stories, videos and photos with the brand’s social channels.
Malu, anfitriã em Ipanema, adora que seus hóspedes a chamem de “Mama Brasileira”, pois certifica-se que eles “comam bem, durmam bem, e sintam-se em casa”. Hospede-se com Malu e ela irá te mostrar a cidade em uma caminhada inédita, indicando o melhor lugar para comer um peixinho frito e os bares com as melhores caipirinhas. Todos os anfitriões Airbnb oferecem para seus hóspedes uma experiência única. Explore convites de outros anfitriões cariocas aqui: #SejaMeuHospede Malu, a host in Ipanema, invites her guests to call her “Brazilian Mama” because she wants them to “eat well, sleep well, and feel at home.” Stay with Malu and she will guide you on a walking tour of the city, suggest the best place to eat local fish and point you to the bar that mixes up the tastiest Caipirinhas. Each and every host offers guests a unique experience. Explore invitations from other Rio hosts here: #SejaMeuHospede
A photo posted by Airbnb (@airbnb) on
Airbnb is targeting Brazilian audiences, specifically on Facebook and YouTube, who are already members of their community, as well as those between 18 and 40 years old who are passionate about travel, but new to the brand.
Pro-reactive Marketing and Planning for Major Events
You can’t predict who will win the Olympic gold, but you can guarantee aspects such as the teams entering, the disciplines and ‘someone’ will win the entire competition. If you plan your campaign strategy around these ‘certainties’, you can build an affective pro-reactive marketing campaign.
To learn more about this, check out Paul Hunter’s video presentation: The Benefits of Reactive Content Marketing