Brands: Keep the Torch Burning Long After the Olympics Are Over

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ADOTAS – The date is August 13, 2012 and you’re cruising the good ol’ superweb feeling like that guy in the Arby’s commercial from the ’80s. (Remember that one?  It has a confused man wandering abandoned streets with tumbleweeds rolling in the wind). “Where is everybody?,” you scream as you seek to commence a dialog with major brands.  A person finally approaches, and instead of telling you that there is a Roast Beef Sale, he informs you that it is the day after the Olympics.

There is “beaucoup” amount of chatter going around about the media spend related to the Olympics. Speaking to industry executives last December about the 2012 ad outlook was equivalent to talking to a five-year-old about his expectations for Christmas. Everyone was excited about what the Olympics (and this year’s election) would do for spending. Well, with the Olympics right around the corner, how do brands ensure that this investment is going to pay off?

I have a concern that both the official and unofficial advertisers for this year’s games aren’t thinking about what happens after the closing ceremonies. For the official sponsors, their deals run through the end of 2012, so why not extend the association for when the coverage of Trampoline ends (yes, that is an Olympic sport)?

Here are my tips to advertisers to ensure that they don’t blow through their whole ad budget associated to the games and then wonder if it did anything for their business:

1. Keep the content fresh and relevant: Compared to previous games, there are many more options for hooking users and communicating with them from display, mobile, social, video and carrier pigeons. However, within these options, few advertisers these days focus on driving a relevant experience for users. Follow the games and you’ll invariably find some feel-good, unexpected stories.  Play these into your ads to capitalize on the trending interest. Shoot new video stories (athletes come home), aggregate content (showcase the amount of community involvement with your program) and update your display/search ads based on both previous user behavior and your new content. Don’t just rely on using the Olympic rings in your creative — do something with it.

2. Maintain involvement: Few events can spark the emotion and passion of users as much as the Olympics as consumers root for their homeland or that of their ancestors (like Balki Bartokomous cheering for Mypos). There is not going to be any lack of advertisers asking users to contribute content during the games (see what Nike and Visa are doing for examples). However, who is going to maintain this involvement after the games? Asking users for their favorite moments from the games or showing the athletes starting to prepare for Rio in 2016 or highlighting/thanking the athletes who are graduating from the amateur to the professional ranks are all ways to maintain a connection to the games and your brand.

3. Parse the story: As video is playing a larger role in global events (i.e. the year’s Super Bowl), advertisers shouldn’t feel the need to blow through all their content during those two-plus weeks. Have the TV ad or video ad serve as Episode #1 to a longer story that will play out throughout the games. This will not only enable easier measurement of the success of your TV/video budget — by tracking online/mobile visits from the release of these stories — but will also keep people interested (imagine if Kill Bill were kept as one super long-movie? Seriously, it wouldn’t have). Additionally, by creating multiple “episodes” that extend beyond the Olympics, you can avoid having your message get lost in much of the marketing noise that takes place during the games.

Taking these items into account will help ensure that your campaign achieves a gold medal in the success department. So go out there, tiger, and make us proud.

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