Five Rings and Social Distancing: Looking at the Olympic way
07 April, 2020
A 17-day extravaganza that happens once in 4 years and it is one of the most coveted medals in the sporting fraternity – this leap year marked Olympics in our calendars which was to be hosted by Japan. With the outbreak, after much thought and consideration, the games have been moved to next year. There are mixed reactions on this shift, with many unanswered questions which perhaps only time can tell. All the marketing channels right form broadcast, sponsorship, OTT, to product launches, and promotions, everything has taken a hit.
Here are some key elements to remember:
- Olympics 2020 has been postponed and not cancelled; this gives rooms to adapt, and refocus.
- All the contracts right from giving the broadcasting rights to being the brand ambassadors are renegotiated.
- Expenses have largely contained for most of the brands, with the actual event yet to happen. The advertising budget now adds directly to their profits.
- Unfortunately, the aftermath of the pandemic could leave some brands without enough money to spend on advertising in 2021.
The Olympic Games in 2020 saw 14 global brands associated as 'Top Partners'. Each of them has offered sponsorship either as financial resources, services, or products. Most of them have been long term partners with National Olympic Committees, sealing the deals for years on end. Let us take a closer look at how is the impact of shifting to the next year fan out for these brands?
NBC is in a soup because of the shift on accounts more than one. They have a major programming gap in July-August and has collected from over 90% of commercials a tune of $1.2 billion already. NBC holds rights till 2032 and has committed $12 billion. They had generated $2.8 billion in revenue during the Rio Olympics in 2016. Similarly, other broadcasters across the world find themselves in a soup.
Many businesses had planned the launch of their new products or technologies around the Olympics.
- NBC's planned launch of their OTT platform Peacock with the telecast of Olympics. In Peacock, unlike Netflix or Disney, ads would have been streamed too.
- Mattel’s had unveiled a new line of Barbies and Hot Wheels ahead of the Olympics.
- Toyota was to unveil a set of new mobility all-electric vehicles for the Olympics.
- Intel’s had plans to launch new technologies at the Olympics 2020. The spokesperson said that they would innovate more before next year.
- Sportwear, like Speedo’s LZR, was sold off the racks since its feature in Olympics would take a beating and not get the prominence that it would have if featured in Olympics 2020.
- Bridgestone Corporation planned to launch a fleet of new cycles along with 75 athletes endorsing them
- The food and beverage usually come out with new creations or fun marketing techniques to be sold in the Olympics and then across the world.
Another aspect of these games is when athletes endorse or represent brands as ambassadors. Coco-Cola had announced a “6-pack” marketing plans last September. Since they were yet to start their shoot, they had saved a huge deal. Other brands are not so lucky. Promotions start 90 days ahead of the Games, and the announcement to postpone came with 114 days to go. Their production has already been done. Many of them would re-do a shoot next year, and use some of these this year.
In some cases, a few athletes might not be able to participate in Olympics next year due to various restrictions would be in deep soup, especially if they are to endorse a brand
While for some global brands, their contracts are closing end of 2020 and Olympics in 2021 would entail more discussions and negotiations. Most of them look at this as a welcome move. Had the games had run per schedule, the advertisers would have got 70 cents for every dollar invested. This way, brands can use these funds, to add to their bottom line, recoup and get back next year with renewed vigour.