The Olympics: Play Or Pass?

With Super Bowl LV in the rearview mirror, marketers are focused on the 2021 Olympics. The big decision is whether to address everything happening in our country. With so much uncertainty, brands must be agile and determine if and how they fit in. 

Relevance is key. This year’s Super Bowl reinforced that brands succeed when their message hits the right person, place, and time. It boils down to contextual relevance. 

Creatively, don’t do it if you can’t do it right. The Olympics is a global stage equipped for global impact, and we must decide whether we can responsibly take that on and deliver a message beyond the brand.

In sports marketing, one sure fire way to sell tickets is to fuel a rivalry. But that tactic doesn't work at the Olympics. There is no sales conversion in mind. Here, brands should fuel unity and leverage world-class athletes, teams and nations as the voice of influence to do so. 



Strategically, capitalize on it. The Olympics are a highly -- if not the most highly -- anticipated live viewing event in the entire world this year. We will be remiss if we don’t capitalize on this moment in our marketing strategies. 

  • Gamification. Good example of this strategy: Mountain Dew's $1 million sweepstakes, in which participants were invited to count the number of the new Mtn Dew Major Melon bottles appearing in a TV spot.
  • New data segments. Identify data partners who spent the last year building new audience segments against behaviors and media that experienced significant growth like streaming audio, podcasts, Twitch, Reddit, connected TV users, dating apps and more.
  • Be where the people are. The Olympics are on more than a TV screen. People are scrolling Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, watching recaps and highlights on YouTube, listening to podcasts and reading blogs and articles. Think about new targeting strategies, especially contextual (there’s that word again) audiences in display so your brand safely appears alongside these mentions.
  • Account for global time differences. Consider how the time difference will affect watch habits, and take advantage of how many of the events will be hitting the news before prime-time viewing.
  • Manifest spaces for conversations. Host a private Zoom party DJ’d by a cultural favorite, start a Facebook group or a LinkedIn discussion board, moderate a panel, and get creative in providing people an outlet for engagement.
  • Create limited-time offers. You don’t have to be a CPG or QSR brand to capitalize on LTOs. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we have to adapt quickly. It’s not too late to make the Olympics an ownable moment for your brand.
1 comment about "The Olympics: Play Or Pass?".
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  1. Matt Filippi from WICU12, April 14, 2021 at 3:26 p.m.

    You'd think before you published an article about the Olympics, you'd know that since they are in Tokyo that the majority of the programming will be LIVE in the US!  Their daytime is our primetime.

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