Activation Takeaways from the London Olympic Games

I find it hard to believe that the Olympic Games Closing ceremonies were already 2 months ago.  I personally enjoyed an amazing three weeks in England during the festivities.  The atmosphere in Olympic Park was amazing and one that I shall treasure forever.   I was also excited to experience some of LOCOG’s Olympic partner activation first hand.   While most of us don’t have the luxury of working with the large activation budgets that Olympic sponsors are blessed with, there are two takeaways that, regardless of budget, I believe any organization should strive for when considering activation:

1)      Integration –Sponsorship has the ability to serve a wide range of business needs and should be embraced by an organization in its entirety.  It can achieve so many business objectives many of which have historically been accomplished piecemeal through advertising, cause marketing programs, event sponsorships and corporate social responsibility efforts.   Coca-Cola’s activation of London 2012 is a prime example of how an organization can create a single platform to deliver an integrated campaign supporting a broad range of business objectives.  Their Move to the Beat campaign designed to target teens and fuse music and sport together was rolled out in over 100 countries across the world.  The program incorporated not only the Torch Relay, but also included a global print and TV campaign, a feature length documentary, the iconic Coca-Cola Beat Box in the Olympic Park, and Games time refreshments.  Coca-Cola also integrated their support for youth sports and nutrition programs around the world as well as their CSR recycling program which was responsible for recycling over 10 million bottles during 6 weeks around the games.

2)      Think Outside the Box – There really isn’t anything terribly unique or new when it comes to sponsor benefits in agreements, but where the difference lies in how a sponsor activates a deal. The International Olympic Committee’s charter would seem to be quite clear, stating in rule 50 that “commercial installations and advertising signs shall not be allowed in the stadia”.   The team at BMW however delivered an outside of the box plan for the stadium that involved the creation and use of ¼ scale remote control Minis that whizzed around the central area of the Olympic stadium, returning javelins, shots and discuses to competitors.  The iconic silhouette of the Mini was unmistakeable but due to the fact that the Minis carried no specific branding, the IOC to passed the use of the cars.  They proved to be a hit with the spectators as well as the media which provided BMW with additional awareness in an otherwise clean stadium and a boost for their estimated £40M deal with London 2012.

As kudos to BMW’s simple yet remarkably creative activation that delivered practicality and awareness I decided to Digg this article.  I have also become a proud owner of a model Olympic Mini which sits next to my computer as a daily reminder as to how important it is to think outside the box.

What  Olympic sponsorships made an impression on you and what were your sponsorship takeaways from London 2012?

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6 Responses to Activation Takeaways from the London Olympic Games

  1. cityrep says:

    Although it isn’t related to the Olympics, we did a training course at work recently and everyone was given a stress ball to squeeze when we felt the need to de-stress. Mine sits on my desk and reminds me of the key points of that course, something I wouldn’t likely think about if I didn’t have that little trinket in eye shot…I believe in the power of sponsorship takeaways even though i find them “cheesy” and mostly useless objects. Very smart of BMW to see that opportunity and mash it up with the Olympics.

  2. Richard says:

    Love the BMW success story, a great outside the box campaign. Given the great success, i wonder if future olympic commitees will offer similar opportunities to olympic partners, only next time with a nice fee to go along with it.

    • Great question and one that remains to be seen. BMW took the time to understand the needs of the Organizing Committee in order to create a solution to the delivery and timing around field events. I think that many more sponsors will try to create out of the box solutions to gain valuable exposure in what have been traditionally clean venues.

  3. kristylboyne says:

    Amazing that you got to spend three weeks experiencing the London Olympic games! I’m always jealous when I hear about large corporations marketing budgets and the out of the box ideas that their teams not only come up with, but are able to execute! Any other stories from your Olympic experience?

    • Hi Kristy,
      I agree, big budgets would be fun to work with! I have so many great memories from London. The Olympics this summer were dubbed the ‘Social Olympics’ with athletes and sponsors using social media to engage spectators and share memorable moments like never before. As a result, I think social media will play an increasinrole ore significant role in sporting events moving forward and this can only provide more interesting opportunities for sponsors and rights holders to engage with audiences in a meaningful way.

  4. susanrooney says:

    So as someone who was at the Olympics what’s your opinion on those Mascots?

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