Are You Really Ready for Olympic Advertising? Not if You Can't Say "Yes" To These 6 Questions

Are You Really Ready for Olympic Advertising? Not if You Can't Say "Yes" To These 6 Questions

When the world comes together in the spirit of sport, it isn't just the athletes that are in competition. The Olympic Games are also the gold standard for advertisers -  an unrivaled platform to showcase brand storytelling on a global scale. 

If you're a marketer considering an Olympic campaign, this is your time to shine - or to fall short.

Because, let's face it, Olympic advertising isn't for the faint-hearted. It requires mastering a set of pre-game advertising maneuvers that could mean the difference between gold… or a spot on the side of the podium.

The Olympics represent a colossal global stage for brands to connect with millions of viewers worldwide. But behind the scenes, mastering the art of Olympic advertising is a strategic dance with stringent rules, fierce competition, and an audience that expects nothing short of a spectacle. 

To make sure your brand is channeling its inner Olympian, you must answer "yes" to six vital pre-game questions.

How Much Money is Spent on Advertising During the Olympics?

Before we dive into the questions you need to be asking, let's talk about why you should be asking them in the first place.

The Olympic Games, after all, are no ordinary advertising battleground. It's an event where commercials become cultural moments and every slot is a cherished opportunity to etch your brand in the minds of millions.

During the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, it's estimated that brands spent more than a billion dollars on advertising. That's no small chunk of change.

Just investing in Olympic advertising is not a guaranteed win. It takes deep pockets, sure, but to secure a return on that investment is an exercise in strategic precision, skilled storytelling, and the nimbleness to pivot in real-time.

Highlighting The Benefits of Olympic Advertising

The driving force behind such colossal spending are the eyeballs – and heartstrings – that campaigns can capture. This is no ordinary advertising battleground - it's an event where commercials become cultural moments .

An Olympics ad campaign when executed flawlessly, is unlike any other from the sheer scale and storytelling potential. The concept of "Olympic Spirit" presents advertisers with a common ground that transcends culture, geography, and demographics. 

By harnessing this ethos, brands can forge an emotional connection with their audiences, one that outlasts the duration of the games. Strategies like tying your brand narratives to stories of resilience, excellence, and human triumph can resonate profoundly at the Olympics' platform, amplifying your brand's reach and recall.

The benefits expand beyond the emotional, too. With numerous viewing platforms and the rise of interactive content, Olympics advertising provides a one-of-a-kind channel to drive engagement and track consumer behavior. 

But with these golden opportunities, there comes a series of challenges, and not being adequately prepared might sink a campaign that was meant to soar.

Let's take a look at what kind of challenges you might be up against. 

Before The Torch Is Lit: 6 Pre-Game Questions for Olympic Advertisers

Sure, the glitz and the grandeur of athletics - and hopefully, your ads - might be what the world sees, but the behind-the-scenes preparation is what defines Olympic advertising champions. 

Here are six critical questions that every prospective Olympic advertiser must address before the games begin.

1. Do You Understand Rule 40?

If your campaign includes any reference to the Olympics, you need to understand Rule 40, which was created to protect the value of high-paying Olympic sponsors. 

What it means is that, if you're not an official paying sponsor, you can't use certain Olympics-related terms, which include the word itself: "Olympics." The rule also extends to a 'blackout period' when athletes are also prohibited from posting sponsored content. Non-compliance can lead to costly legal ramifications and can also damage the reputation of your brand.

Take a close look at your campaign to make sure it safely navigates through the intricacies of Rule 40. You might not be able to say 'Olympics,' but you can craft your messages to capture the spirit of the game without being caught in the crosshairs of trademark infringement.

2. Have You Identified Your Target Audience's Top "Events"?

Your audience is your arena, and just like the games, they have a wide array of 'events' they prefer. Know your audience's preferences and viewing habits inside out. 

What do they watch? When do they watch? Where do they watch? This level of understanding will enable your brand to place its logos and messages at the places where they matter the most.

For example, if your target audience tunes in to watch swimming, you need to make sure your ad is making a splash during those events, or during the period leading up to them. The specificity and relevance here are key to making your ads resonate and not just be seen.

3. Is Your Campaign Flexible?

Statistical simulation can only prepare you for so much. The actual Olympics is a live event, rife with underdog victories and sporting legends in the making. Is your campaign ready to adapt and celebrate these unpredictable triumphs? Is it ready to handle any scheduling changes (case in point - the shifting of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be held in 2021)? 

Consider creating a suite of ads that mark different potential victories across various sporting disciplines. It'll position your brand not just as a viewer of the games, but a participant in its storytelling.

4. Are You Prepared to Handle Potential Backlash or Controversy?

The Olympics, just like any major live event, can throw in some unexpected turns which your brand may inadvertently find itself associated with. Be ready to handle this with a robust crisis communication strategy.

For example, a political statement by an athlete might spark a larger discussion online, with your ad context getting caught in the crossfire. Make sure you are monitoring the online chatter to make necessary shifts in your campaign's tone or, if the situation demands, withdraw altogether.

5. Are Your Visuals and Messaging Adaptable Across Different Countries

In a multicultural, multilingual viewing experience, your visuals and messages should be appreciated by all, in their own way. Invest in global perspective and research to make sure that your campaign doesn't inadvertently offend cultural sensibilities or misunderstand the host country's customs and traditions.

An excellent example of this is Google's 'Year in Search' campaign that seamlessly weaves together stories from diverse cultures under one overarching theme of unity and connection, a message that resonates powerfully with the spirit of the games.

6. Do You Have a System in Place to Track the Performance of Your Campaign in Real Time?

With such a significant investment of both your time and money, you need to keep a finger on the pulse of your campaign's performance. Real-time analytics can provide you with insights into consumer behavior, engagement rates, and even the impact of your ads on social sentiment.

An effective tracking system could be the difference between scaling up a successful campaign  - or pulling the plug on an underperforming one, avoiding unnecessary losses and capitalizing on potential wins.

Going for Gold: Kinetic319 is Your Secret to Olympic Advertising Success

In the world of Olympic advertising, the choices are vast, but the path to gold is narrow. It's not just a matter of spending; it's a matter of strategic storytelling that resonates and a commitment to navigating the advertising rings with grace, flair, and agility.

At Kinetic319, we understand the pulse of modern marketing. We're committed to guiding brands through this transformative (and exhilarating) time.

The first step begins with a friendly conversation with a forward-thinking agency. As we march into the future of retail, the choices we make today will echo in the marketplaces of tomorrow. Contact us today

Together, we'll help you make history. 


Authored by Adam Ortman, Founder & President

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