Are You Ready For Olympic Brand Jacking?

Are you ready for the heats, the qualifiers of the biggest competition of all this summer -- the art of hijacking the Olympic spirit without forking out millions of dollars to be officially part of the Games? 

In Europe it will be particularly prevalent because of the time delay, which will mean the big evening medal events will air in the early hours and so many will look to news outlets and social media channels to check up on the winners and losers. Hence, the widespread assumption that this really is an Olympics where marketing will be content driven to a European audience that has to work and so can't pull an all-nighter, as many do for the Super Bowl or an F1 Grand Prix on the other side of the world.

Interestingly, the IOC has made it a little easier this year for responsible brands associated with athletes to carry on mentioning that relationship throughout the Games. This had been stopped for London 2012 but was quite rightly seen as too draconian, particularly as it applied to stars who are not paid well and have short careers and so need to be marketable when they are momentarily centre stage.

it means we will see a lot more Olympic stars on our screen and social media feeds being associated with the watchmaker, fashion designer, mortgage provider and so on which sponsors them. The interesting part is going to be how close these brands are prepared to sail to the wind when it comes to the rules surrounding not mentioning Rio and the Olympics.

Let me leave you with the interesting case of MINI in the U.S., which has compiled a great looking ad in which athletes mention the labels they have dropped as they became champion sports people. It ends by mentioning there's only one word worth mentioning -- "Olympia." For a non-sponsor of Rio, but proud sponsor of the US Olympics team, that sounds an awful lot like "Olympic" to me. Not that MINI is trying it on here, of course, and it is probably a moot point anyway, considering the brand's relationship with the U.S. team. However, it does underline how when you move a bar it becomes the job of brand marketers to see how much extra wiggle room they are afforded in getting as close as possible to the main event without landing the brand in trouble.

As sure as "eggs are eggs," there will be a brand or two out there that sails a little too close to the wind. The IOC and every other sporting organisation used to be focussed on gorilla marketing at an event but with the advent of social media and content driven marketing plans which are executed far away from any stadia, that job has become a whole lot harder, particularly with slightly more relaxed rules.

Next story loading loading..