By hosting the 2012 Summer Olympic games, London is the first city in the history of the modern Olympics to host three times. London previously hosted in 1908 and again in 1948. How the games – and the marketing resources and strategies – have changed in that time.
It’s unlikely anyone involved with those first games in 1908 thought about billion dollar TV contracts and multi-million campaigns involving multiple marketing resources. They certainly weren’t thinking about it in 1948, what are now known as the Austerity Games. Post-war Europe was broke. Athletes were encouraged to bring their own food, and participating countries were tapped for whatever donations they could spare.
For 2012, NBC paid in excess of $1.1 billion for broadcast rights to the London Games. The network is certainly helping the games live up the the hype as the most social games ever, with multiple outlets to get results, from Twitter to Facebook to YouTube.
Social media marketing is playing a key role in how the 2012 games are followed and how sponsors use their exclusive marketing rights.
The 11 global sponsors who lined up for 2012 paid an average of more than $100 million each. What do they get for that? Exclusive rights to use the association with the Olympics in their advertising and promotion for the full 4-year cycle until the marketing for the next games begins. Given the Marketing opportunities that exist now, and what will develop during the next few years – think of the pace of social media development – and that price looks like a bargain.
Analysts have already singled out Proctor & Gamble (P&G) for aggressively taking best advantage of their sponsorship. P&G launched an advertising campaign called Gold Medal Moms recognizing all the moms behind the Olympians, spots that have been applauded for their ability to elicit tears.
The TV spots are great, but what really gives the P&G effort legs is the social media opportunities it has to keep that message in front of fans and followers. P&G has dedicated a Facebook campaign with a library of films highlighting the role of moms in helping their Olympians succeed. The Facebook page will be there long after the games pass, keeping that message alive.
P&G also announced earlier in the year their pledge to support 28 Olympic and Para-Olympic athletes with financial aid, and in the last week announced the opening of the P&G Family Home, a facility on the London Olympic grounds that would serve as a hospitality center for families of all participating athletes.
In statements to industry analysts, Marc Pritchard, the company’s global branding officer, said they expect the global sponsorship to add roughly $500 million to 2012 revenue, and called it one of the most attractive sponsorship programs they’ve been involved in.
Great opportunity indeed, but what about the challenges?
The biggest challenges will likely come from competitors deploying ambush strategies. Adidas is the athletic shoe and gear exclusive sponsor, but that won’t stop Nike and Puma from advertising during the Olympics, and playing off the excitement created.
Social media is playing a huge role in those stealth tactics, such as Nike’s Find Your Greatness campaign that features every city, town and park with London in its name, except the one where the Olympics are actually being held.
The International Olympic Committee actually put a moratorium on any Olympic participants mentioning non-sponsor brands from 1 month before the Games until they close. Usain Bolt, defending 100 meter champ, is with Puma. If he defends his gold medal, how does the IOC keep him from taking his shoes off for the world to see? (Puma unveiled its “old school” track and field online video game about a week before the games started.)
It seems “exclusive” rights are going to be much harder to come by with future games. Good luck Adidas! Maybe one of your guys upsets him.
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