Clever Marketing Can Keep the Olympic Spirit Alive

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Roger Katz wrote a great piece last week about “Which Brand Got the Social Gold at the Olympics?,” and he’s right: Samsung, P&G and GE did do a great job both via social media and elsewhere with their Olympic advertising efforts. (As the parent who drives our 13-year-old to basketball, perhaps Dads need a “shout out,” too, but I digress).

But beyond the Olympics, there is a great opportunity for any marketer (and not just the multi-million-dollar sponsors) to extend the Olympic spirit for the 700-odd days until the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics (or until the ban on marketing by non-Olympic sponsors).

I sat riveted watching the accomplishments of the U.S. and international Olympians. And the truth is, I want to be like Mike (or at least to have an upper body like his or any of his Team USA swimming teammates). And there are millions more like me.

Actually, a little more than three years ago, after I stopped liking what my scale said about me, I began a biking and sit-up regimen, losing about 10 pounds in two months. I kept that weight off until my youngest was born. Well, he’ll be turning two this weekend, and I think I have ridden my bike about twice since he was born (after riding three times a week for over a year).

So what can marketers do to keep the Olympic spirit alive post-Olympics?

Create a long-term marketing program around athletic activity: With Olympic glory still a distinct memory, most marketers can create a marketing program tied to achieving physical fitness. Though it might be less effective for a marketer whose product offering is not considered healthy – say a fast-food restaurant or marketer of carbonated beverages – most other marketers will be able to integrate their marketing message into a program supporting sustained physical activity.

And you don’t necessarily need to sign a long-term contract with a high profile athlete like Michael Phelps or Gabby Douglas. All you need to do is find an athlete who is natural enough in front of the camera (admitted, that’s not always easy) and create a compelling story.

Provide short-term goals/incentives: Most of us are not going to be able to spend six hours daily in the pool, so the key to creating a successful program is to incorporate easy-to-obtain goals, particularly in the beginning. Think about the first few days playing one of Zynga’s “Ville” games, when it’s pretty easy to achieve the early goals of the game.

Integrate this program with all social-media platforms: How about hundreds of Sponsored Stories on thousands of Facebook newsfeeds saying, “I lost 2 pounds this week thanks to (insert your brand/client).” That’s the beauty of integrating your marketing program into an Olympic athletic-driven physical-fitness program.

Though I have over-simplified the process of creating a fitness-driven marketing program led by an Olympic athlete – it does take time and effort – there are millions out there looking for inspiration to get off their butts and shed some pounds while getting physically fit.  Any marketer that can help them “just do it” for more than a couple of weeks will win big – at the cash register.

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