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Back Talk: Do Guerrilla Tactics Score Olympic Gold?

When the 2012 Summer Olympics kick off next week in London, official sponsors ranging from Adidas to McDonald’s to UPS will compete for a different kind of gold. Olympic sponsors pay more than $1 billion apiece for brand exposure, and it’s predicted 4 billion viewers will tune into this year’s opening ceremonies. Yet, leading up to next Friday’s festivities, it’s brands without official sponsorships that are “meddling” first. Earlier this year, Hanson Dodge Creative in Milwaukie spent over $11,000 for the rights to…an athlete’s shoulder. Runner Nick Symmonds has sported the agency’s Twitter handle, in the form of a temporary tattoo, on his left shoulder throughout the 2012 track and field season. Because of Olympic regulations regarding sponsorships, Symmonds will be forced to cover the tattoo when he races in London, but some argue that could be just as – if not more – effective. Fast-food chain Subway is making waves with an unofficial campaign featuring four British athletes who encourage consumers to “Train hard. Eat Fresh.” And UPS competitor FedEx has announced it will provide grants to some 25 future Olympians and Paralympians, who will be featured in an ad campaign for the brand. Forget official sponsorships; the Olympics, it seems, are fair game.

Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems like any and all brands can — and should — compete for Olympic gold. Whether it’s a guerrilla campaign or something hyper-local, consumers the world over respond to the spirit of the Games.

Which prompts the question: Do you think Olympic tie-ins help brands shine? Do guerrilla-marketing campaigns like those mentioned above help “unofficial” brands strike Olympic gold? In your mind, is a certain brand leading the competition?

Please leave a comment in the section below, or join the conversation on the Vertical Marketing Network Facebook page.

Brought to you by Vertical Marketing Network, a Leading Integrated Marketing Agency.

About JJ Nelson

Freelance blogger for Vertical Marketing Network; food writer; bartender.

3 comments on “Back Talk: Do Guerrilla Tactics Score Olympic Gold?

  1. Pingback: Back Talk: What Olympic Campaigns Scored Gold? « Blogging Out Loud

  2. Philip
    July 27, 2012

    Wanted to share a good article from USA Today on this topic.
    “Olympic sponsors will spend untold millions of dollars in a desperate attempt to shape, mold and control one thing: consumer use of social media. It won’t be easy. Even if these are the Social Games — as they have been tagged — for the big-spending sponsors, there could be more losers than winners……”


  3. Philip
    July 17, 2012

    Olympic marketing needs to be viewed beyond the billion dollar official sponsorship price tags, as sponsorship “activation” often adds a larger investment multiple beyond the funds going to the IOC. But the bigger story for the 2012 Summer Games is that these Olympics are truly the first where the most ubiquitous social media platforms will transform the events and sponsorships.

    At the last Summer games in Beijing, Facebook was just passing MySpace in popularity and just debuted its chat feature. Now with 900 million global users, Facebook is the omnipresent way the masses share events.

    Twitter had approximately 6 million registered users with 300,000 tweets per day compared to 500 million users and 400 million tweets each day. Sports are a trending topic throughout the week and this will be the first Olympics with critical mass for Twitter.

    YouTube is the perfect way for Olympics events to go viral in 2012. With 72 hours of new content being uploaded today, that is a far cry from the YouTube stats in 2008.

    And then when you consider Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare and other social media tools, the 2012 Summer Games will break all records and in the process increase the value of official sponsorships.


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This entry was posted on July 17, 2012 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , .

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