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How to Gatecrash the Olympics Marketing Season

by Rick Corteville  |  
July 6, 2012

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Five ways to maximize your marketing during the Olympics
  • How to effectively market during the Olympics without being a sponsor

Not but a few Games ago, trying to take promotional advantage of the Olympics if you weren't a sponsor was as difficult as teaching a Los Angeles Kings "fan" the meaning of icing (Disclosure: I'm from Detroit). That is, unless you shelled out the Gross Domestic Product of Algeria (actually, about $100 million) to be deemed an Official Olympic Sponsor. Cue trumpets!

But in the case of the 2012 London games, you can develop a significant presence and access the event without investing serious sponsor-level cash. The benefits of "hacking" your way in are obvious: You avoid paying the hundreds of millions of dollars required to obtain the privilege of using the colored rings in your ads and on your packaging, while exposing your brand to a ginormous amount of impressions on a global scale.

But aren't the International Olympic Committee and British lawmakers cracking down on companies that are using terms such as Olympics and London 2012 in their marketing?

Yeah, sure, they are, but their efforts are equivalent to giving a class of sixth graders a box of Pixy Stix candy and telling them it's "nap time." You may succeed once or twice, but not across the board. And, anyway, you don't need to run afoul of the brand police.

So, here are five ways marketers can use the popularity of the Olympics to their benefit while avoiding the long arms of Constable McGee.

1. Have something to say

Don't enter the gauntlet just because you want to see what will happen if you make the effort. Organize a product launch, event, or contest/sweepstakes. Considering all the eyeballs you'll be in front of, try to hook some of them and get those people to interact with your brand.

2. Come up with your own tagline/association

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Rick Corteville is chief executive officer of Luxus Inc., an international digital agency with a laser focus on ROI.

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