Ratings have proved an incredible lure in recent years, since the Olympics’ numbers are virtually Teflon amongst TV audience erosion.
But this event also gets a lot of attention from people seeking a platform for their non-sports messages. More than perhaps other Olympics, political and terrorist activities seem to be threatening the Sochi Winter Olympics.
For marketers, much of this comes with the territory. Brad Adgate, senior vice president and director of research for Horizon Media, told TV Watch, “All the Olympics get threats. That said, this has gotten a bit more. You have to be aware about it. It’s an unfortunate part of the world we live in.”
What about negative associations? Adgate said that “no one is going to blame the advertisers” for any extraneous issues or events that may occur.
NBC, which paid around $775 million for the Sochi games, is expected to reel in just over $1 billion in advertising for the 18-day event. That’s a big payday.
Live programming means unpredictability. The Olympics attracts major marketing and advertising dollars because of that.
While many expect big-time winter athletes like snowboarder extraordinaire Shaun White to be high-profile performers during the games, marketers desire spur-of-the-moment surprise performances to lure in viewers.
Adgate went on to say that many marketing positives remain intact for these games: “It’s a big stage for global marketers and for marketers in the U.S -- and it’s safe programming.” It also has very high viewership -- and the content is mostly DVR-proof.
More so than other sporting events, the Olympics represent an increasingly rare commodity: It brings in a four-quadrant audience of men, women, young and old in big scale.
That’s why Olympic advertising is a risk that marketers continue to take.