Jul 29, 2012 Written by 
There were 9.66m tweet in the first day of the London 2012 Olympics, surpassing the Beijing 2008 Olympics total in just 24 hours.

In fairness, Twitter was just a startup then, so our timelines were not flooded as they are today and there was no colossal 340 million tweet per day. But this microblogging site is mammoth when it comes to bringing us the news faster and and more efficiently than any other medium in sound bites that most of us can understand. It also gives us choice as to whether we wish to read more or not.
What the Olympics is doing for brands

The Opening Ceremony was spectacular. It did for England, what the Sydney 2000 Olympics did for Australia. It reminded everyone why you must visit a country with so much historic value and it helps to have a surging of popularity in the Monarchy, thanks to a younger generation bringing to light a new modern take on what it is to be a Royal.

James Bond, escorting the untouchable Queen of England to the Olympics was the highlight of the entire Opening Ceremony. People could not believe that she would agree to a cameo like this let alone, allow a stunt double to jump out of a plane, as if it were her to arrive at the London 2012 Olympics. For me, this was the "moment" of the Opening Ceremony along with the lighting of the Olympic Flame.

Who wouldn't have wanted to go out and see a musical about Mary Poppins after the spectacular showpiece in the Opening Ceremony or to go back in history and remember the big events that changed England and the world forever?

While London and England as a whole is a big winner, so too is the Royal Family and their ability through the Olympics to bring their brand to billions of people. I am sure souvenirs sales will go through the roof and the more approachable they are throughout the Olympics will only land them in good stead. Camilla and Charles at the cycling was a big winner, as will be sightings of the younger royals throughout the entire Olympics.

When it comes to brands, its the Olympians that are the focal point. Sure, we have Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos, Dow, GE, McDonald's, Omega, Procter and Gamble, Panasonic, Samsung and Visa, but it is the Olympians themselves that can now make or break their own brand power to lure in millions of dollars worth of sponsorship in years to come.

Olympians hold the key, but it can be good and bad.

Take the genetically blessed Stephanie Rice for example. While some Twitters are complementary, some are less than with comments like "Stephanie Rice screwed up her race." Did she? Really? She gave it her best. How unAustralian!

From television presenter and former Olympian Giaan Rooney, Rice"@itsStephRice such a brave swim tonight. No one is under any illusion you didn't give that 100%. Good news is the 200IM is half that."

James Magnussen, with his movie star looks and charming personality also fell short of expectations. He has however, fared better than Stephanie Rice in the "hate" mail, but it will remain to be seen whether this will continue if he doesn't win races.

The Hockeyroos were the golden women of sport for many years with their unbeatable record. Yet, yesterday they lost to New Zealand. Once again, the disappointed that they are facing is being overshadowed by the expectations of a nation.

There are some positives for brands at the Olympics though. Who would ever forget what the Olympics in Atlanta did for Keiron Perkins when he won gold as an underdog in the 1500m freestyle? Or his number two, Grant Hackett, who took over and become as big, if not bigger, and won more world records than his predecessor.

I personally love the Olympics. I cried when our girls won an Olympic Gold in the swimming after listening to their interviews. What an amazing achievement. Makes one very proud to be Australian.

With corporate sponsorships, there is as much to do about who is the sponsor as those who may be keen to showcase their creative abilities through guerilla marketing activities. Nike, launched a guerilla marketing campaign days ago, and were featured in the New York Tiimes article "Brand Police are on teh prowl for ambush marketers in London Games". This has led to literally hundreds of thousands of tweets, blogs and articles about Nike as to whether this is an impairment on freedom of speech or just over the fact that they chose to use guerilla marketing to leverage their brand. No doubt, they have stolen some of the spotlight.

McDonald's sponsorship has also come to the forefront. They have invested millions in being a major sponsor, and due to that, have every right to place their demands on whether or not "chips" can be sold from other providers. Other than the national cuisine of "fish and chips" no vendor is able to accompany chips with any meals. There has been backlash, but people need a reality check. If you were investing as much money as they are, wouldn't you want the same?

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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

1 comment

  • Patricia Kimtia
    Patricia Kimtia

    Great article Melissah...Please allow me to share my personal thoughts about this. I believe that energising community spirit is the essence of activities like the Games...Personally I am a keen follower and supporter and especially love the building and strengthening of positive relationships that such initiatives promote. However, the sad part is that at times some players in the community building/strengthening game, such as commercial businesses, forget what such initiatives epitomise...they see these merely as grand opportunities to build/strengthen their brands. Indeed, the Games become a fierce competitive arena for brand promotions and the 'real' focus of the Games is shifted and at times undermined...Only this morning, I heard that some of the Brits are not so excited and energised about the Games being in their backyard, one of the main reasons mentioned was the commercial aspect of the Games and the “in your face” campaigns that have taken their world by storm… Perhaps, organisers of such initiatives should use different approaches to keep a balance and ensure sponsors don’t overdo their brand promotions despite the fact that much $$$ are needed to ensure the Games are delivered.
    Food for thought: Can the emerging field of neuromarketing or consumer neuroscience, “a relatively new area of research that combines neuroscience with market research. It uses brain-measuring technology to find out what consumers really think of advertising”, give better insights that can inform all concerned? For those who are interested, there is a great article by Virginia Millen in the Swinburne Venture Magazine, see the following link for details: http://www.swinburne.edu.au/magazine/15/270/neuromarketing/

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