With less than two weeks left before the XXX Olympics (hold your snickers) kick off on July 27th, brands that paid big bucks to be involved are getting their names out there in every way possible while those who didn’t unload their wallets are keeping busy figuring out how they can capitalize on all those eyeballs without getting themselves into any kind of trouble. But first, a word from an Olympics sponsor:
McDonald’s Succumbs to Chip Pressure
Britain, of course, is known for its fine fish and chips so it seemed like blasphemy, especially to the workers at this year’s Games, that the only fries that would be available in Olympic venues would be sold by American fast-food giant McDonald’s — which is, of course, an official IOC sponsor — at its temporary restaurants on the Olympics site. Following an outcry, the London 2012 Organizing Committee has agreed to allow other vendors of chips on the premises, which comes as good news to the 800 food vendors who can now sell their chips to Olympics visitors and personnel. It's not a huge chip off the shoulders of McDonald's UK, which projects that revenue from Olympics sales will represent less than 0.1% of its annual sales.
London 2012 is Going After Ambush Marketing
For those of you who thought that maybe the London Organizing Committee would be too busy with other things to worry much about ambush marketing once the Games get underway, well, think again. LOCOG sent out a letter to ad and media agencies warning them not to push their luck by trying to piggyback on the Olympics with what they view as stealth marketing that steps on official sponsors' toes or the Olympics logo or other trademarks. Non-sponsors not using their regular athletes as brand ambassadors during the blackout, according to Marketing magazine, include Colgate, Sky, British Gas and Subway. “This is by far the strictest the international and local committee has been on ambush marketing,” said Adam Hodge, head of strategy for sports marketing firm Octagon, according to BandT.com.
Seriously, London 2012 Isn't Kidding About Ambush Marketing
Anna Meares may be one of Australia’s best cyclists, but the 10-time world champ also now knows a thing or two about ambush marketing. The 28-year-old appeared in a commercial wearing gear from her sponsor, BHP Billiton. But the Australian Olympic team is wearing clothing from another brand. So the commercials have been pulled off the air down under. (As for how Antipodeans will watch the Olympics in their timezone, McDonald's NZ has one solution.)
British Businesses Unhappy with Olympic-Marketing Beatdown
Plenty of British businesses have helped out on the Olympic effort, but they aren’t signed on as official sponsors, which means they aren’t getting any kind of special treatment. One British architect asked if he could submit his design for the Basketball Arena to a number of organizations to attempt to win some awards for his work but “the request was turned down on the basis that it might contravene Olympic marketing rules,” according to Tessa Jowell at The Guardian. There is a movement to have marketing restrictions disappear quickly after the Games, but the government isn’t likely to move on it before year’s end. Sorry, folks.
London Olympics Organizers: No Love, No Linking
The London 2012 committee isn’t interested in hearing — let alone linking to — any naysayers. BoingBoing.net points out that the official London2012.com website’s linking policy states in the fine print of its terms of service that any other site that links to it has to “agree that no such link shall portray us or any other official London 2012 organizations (or our or their activities, products or services) in a false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner." Keep smiling, world!
Saudis Not Hearing the News About Saudi Women
One country that may have helped its brand slightly, though not immensely, is Saudi Arabia, which has (huzzah!) decided to send two women to compete in the Games, the first time it has done such a thing, although they won't be exposing much flesh. However, no media inside the country is reporting it. That way, per The Huffington Post's argument, the women of Saudi Arabia won’t get the good news and feel too empowered while the rest of the world can think the Saudis are moving in the right direction.
Olympic Security: An Oxymoron?
If you think the folks handling the marketing at the Games are tough, you might not want to tangle with the paid enforcers guarding the Games. Business Insider notes that the London 2012's official security firm, G4S, has “a controversial human rights record, connections with Israel's West Bank settlement, and a lack of oversight.” And now these folks have apparently told organizers that it won’t “be able to completely fulfill its contractual obligations (priced at $335 million), explaining it would fall about 3,500 personnel short of the approximately 13,000 personnel expected to be provided.” Maybe they should take some folks off the ambush-marketing beat and have them help out.
Goldman Sachs: Let's Predict Olympic Success in London 2012
From the new GS report, "The Olympics and Economics 2012" — "One of the ‘fun’ parts of building econometric models is that if they are reasonably good at explaining the past, they can then be used to forecast the future. In this case, we want to predict the eventual country medals tallies at London 2012." Enjoy.