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How to prepare your brand for Olympic promotions

 How to prepare your brand for Olympic promotions

By Becky Munday, Mando

The London 2012 Olympics offers UK marketers and brands a fantastic opportunity to cash-in on an once-in-a-lifetime sporting extravaganza; but many companies might miss out because they either do not understand how to use it effectively or are concerned about the legal implications for non-official sponsors attempting to align themselves with the event.

While brands are right to have concerns, there are opportunities to run Olympic-focused promotions without being an official sponsor. However, it’s all down to looking at the opportunity as creatively as possible. This is a challenge we, as a creative industry, should be embracing, rather than be turning away from. So here are the most important things, we believe, brands need to consider when trying to maximise the promotional potential of this global sporting spectacle.

Plan ahead

Go into the pre-planning stage as soon as possible. With big events like this, the sooner you know what you are doing the better, otherwise you are will be left chasing everyone else’s coat tails.

It is also essential so brands can get their houses in order with essentials, such as promotional insurance cover. Quotes are likely to rise significantly as the event draws nearer.

Not enough brands are planning for the Olympics as yet. There is a real opportunity for UK brands to showcase themselves to the world, but it is crucial to start planning for it now.

Think creatively

There is also a lack of knowledge about how best to creatively devise promotions to take advantage of this global sporting event.

While there are strict legal guidelines in place regarding the use of the Olympic name, branding and the London 2012 logo, which the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has to protect from unauthorised use and ambush marketer. However, there are still opportunities for non-sponsors to exploit the event.

Marketers should look back to much of the marketing activity linked to last year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Although bound by the similar legal restrictions surrounding logo and name usage, many brands were able to align themselves with the World Cup despite not being official sponsors. 

For example, Mando helped a major electronics manufacturer implement a pan-European promotion offering consumers who bought their products the chance to win their money back if their country won the tournament.

If you are concerned about the viability of any of your promotional concepts, the Institute of Promotional Marketing can offer support and advice to brands in this area.

Keep it simple

We have found that the more basic the mechanic of a promotion is, the more people will buy into it. It is also best to avoid basing a promotion on the performance of a specific team or athlete. If that individual is injured, you  promotion will fail and, as these things need to be sorted out several months in advance, there is no chance of reworking your promotion.

During the Beijing Olympics in 2008, we ran a promotion for Coca-Cola-owned energy drink Powerade, which encouraged consumers to collect special bottle tops with different events on. If England won a gold medal in that category, the consumer could claim a cash prize. It was simple but effective.

Get the right cover
However, as Team GB bought home its biggest ever haul of gold models, including some in unexpected sports, we learnt that sporting events can be unpredictable.

Had Powerade not taken a Fixed Fee cover option the promotion could have ended up costing them more than has been budgeted. We calculated, based on past and present performance, the sports where the team was likely to perform better and then produced fewer winning tops in that area and more for the sports where Team GB was less likely to win. Based on this, we supported Powerade’s promotion for a set, one-off figure regardless of the outcome. 

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