Olympic advertising takes on a new face

You’ve heard of the Olympic games which will be starting this month in Sochi, Russia, butl there’s another, less known competition that goes on simultaneously: the marketing games.

olympics-medalsIt’s like a long, drawn out version of the Super Bowl with all its advertisements, sponsorships, and brand references. The mechanics of advertising with regards to the Olympics began in 1896 when the IOC (International Olympic Committee) was trying to put together funds for the Grecian games. They were facing dire financial troubles when they approached George Averoff, a major benefactor of the games, and asked for his help. It was he who came up with the program that allowed companies to pay to advertise themselves in the Olympic souvenir program.

Rule 40 changes advertising rules

The practice continued largely unrestricted until the 2012 Summer Olympics when Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter was passed. Previously, athletes were a big part of advertising before, during, and after the games. They were emblazoned with symbols and insignia and were seen during commercials doing everything from eating sandwiches to drinking beer. These companies who used Olympic athletes were not paying the IOC any type of stipend and were considered “non-official” sponsors. With the passage of Rule 40, the IOC has imposed certain restrictions on how athletes can be used for advertising.

The Olympic Charter reads, “Except as permitted by the IOC Executive Board, no competitor, coach, trainer, or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games.”

Ambush marketing

What this rule does not restrict is the wearing of branded clothing, a fact that Nike took advantage of in London. They couldn’t emblazon their symbol on the athletes’ clothing, but they could make their shoes a bright, florescent yellow-green impossible not to notice. This type of advertising has come to be known as “ambush marketing” and we can expect to see more of it this year.

Pay per call marketing

You don’t have to be an Olympic sponsor to get noticed. There are all kinds of other marketing strategies you can employ, including pay per call marketing. This technique involves enlisting affiliates who will advertise your brand, product, or service in return for a commission for each “qualified lead” they get for you. It may not have the same publicity as the Olympic games, but it’s not even a fraction of the price, either.

Source: OCBreeze

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