How Brands Are Gearing Up For Rio 2016

The world’s biggest sporting competition begins this week; so here’s a compiled list of some of the key marketing trends that have emerged – particularly due to the clever ways in which non-sponsors are running Olympic-themed campaigns without breaking the dreaded Rule 40.

As expected, social media is playing a large role in marketing campaigns. Official sponsors and even non-sponsors are branching out and creating new and innovative ways of engaging people on a global scale. Helping them to connect with the live moments but also by putting the spotlight on people’s stories rather than products.

From Spectators to Participants

As the longest continuous sponsor of the Games, Coca Cola are running a campaign across 50 markets called ‘#That’sGold’. It ecompasses images from 79 athletes from 23 countries with fully operational ‘real-time marketing’ global hub in Rio de Janeiro. The unit will monitor the social conversation during the Games and create content around key moments in real life.

As part of its ‘Friendship’ campaign McDonald’s, another sponsor is going one step further by physically bringing children from all around the world to the Games. Created by DDB Chicago there will be 100 children who will be taking part in the opening ceremony on August 5th.

The People Touch

Once upon a time the spotlight was largely on athletes or even the fans, but now there’s been a shift on the kind of stories brands are telling and the way they are communicating these stories. Advertisers are now more focused on tapping into cultural trends and using the people rather than their own products as the spotlight.

Take at look at P&G for instance…

The New Rule 40

This year we can certainly expect to see far more athletes featuring in marketing campaign than ever before. This all comes down to changes that have been made to the so-called Rule 40 guideline. It previously prohibited non-sponsors from running ads featuring Olympic athletes during the blackout period.

For instance, Michael Phelps, decorated Olympian swimmer, could not appear in Subway ads during the 2012 Olympics because the sandwich chain is not an Olympic sponsor. However, under the new regulations, non-sponsors can request Rule 40 waiver from the USOC allowing them to run ads during the blackout period – which runs from July 27th to August 24th this year.

Red Bull and Under Armour were among the first to take advantage of this change to the regulations, see what they’ve come up with…

Whilst sponsors still have the advantages of using trademarked Olympic phrases and imagery in ads, non-sponsors will have to be more generic. According to the rules non-sponsors are barred from using phrases such as ‘Olympic’, ‘Rio/Rio de Janeiro’ ‘Gold’ ‘Games’ and other Olympic-related terms.

Still the rule change has opened up opportunities for non-sponsors to seize the moment whilst it’s still most relevant. The relaxation of the rules, it means non-sponsors too can take advantage of the world’s biggest sporting event in a way that benefits their business without having to be an official sponsor.

Written byTony Conte

Founder and Owner of Brave Agency, an Integrated Agency transforming businesses through design, digital and marketing, helping you, our clients to get results by applying the right strategy.

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