Let the 'Social' Games Begin - MaryLee Sachs
Published: July 24, 2012 at 01:37 AM GMT
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Last Updated: July 24, 2012 at 01:37 AM GMT
By MaryLee Sachs
When this week's Opening Ceremony kicks off for the 2012 London Olympic Games, all eyes will be on what has been hailed in the lead-up as "the digital Olympics" or "the world's first social Games". And while so much will be captured during the Games themselves, the social revolution around the Games began weeks if not months ago for both athletes and sponsors.
The 25 main global and local sponsors have paid dearly for their official rights. Estimates of up to $1.6 billion have been reported. But of course sponsorship rights are just part of the cost. Much more is spent on marketing activity to maximize sponsors' involvement and support.
Advertising Age recently reported on some of the more significant campaigns, and some of these sponsors also highlighted their Olympic programs when their CMOs spoke at last month's Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Coca-Cola's Joe Tripodi showcased the brand's "Move to the Beat" effort aimed at teens globally. Visa's Antonio Lucio spoke about his brand featuring triumphant moments in Olympic history – and Olympic Gold Medal Winner Nadia Comaneci joined his seminar on the main stage. And P&G's Marc Pritchard presented his brand's "Proud Sponsor of Mom" campaign, complete with "mommymetries" aka short documentaries about mom, or mum in some parts of the world.
Other brands championing major Olympic programs include McDonald's with its "Champions of Play" campaign, GE with its Healthy Share app on Facebook, and Samsung with its US Olympic Genome Project.
All of these campaigns kicked in long before tonight's Opening Ceremony. UK social media consultancy Sociagility started tracking Olympic sponsors' social media profiles 100 days ago. At first, P&G led by a long shot, followed by BMW and Cadbury in the silver and bronze positions respectively. But last week's scorecard shows Coca-Cola winning gold, followed by British Airways and adidas. P&G had dropped down to 8th position followed by BMW as a top performer.
With such a dynamic shift on the social Olympic leader board, it will be interesting to see further movement during the Games. It may be that brands like Coke and adidas have more affinity with the Olympics versus newer sponsors like P&G, Cadbury and BMW.
Only time will tell. There certainly is no shortage of activity in the main social channels, and much of the conversation is likely to be around the Olympics during the Games. In his article "Why Social Media Will Reshape the 2012 Olympics," Mashable's Sam Laird recently documented social's growth since the last Olympics, from 6 million registered Twitter users to 500 million since 2008; and from 100 million Facebook users to more than 900 million in the same time frame. Worth checking out the Infographic he also posted on "How Mobile, Social Will Win the 2012 Olympics" sourced from Nielsen, eMarketer and Forrester.
MaryLee Sachs is the CEO/CMO of Changing MO LLC, her consultancy founded on the basis of the book she launched last year: The Changing MO of the CMO, How the Convergence of Brand and Reputation is Affecting Marketers. The book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and she's currently writing her second book: The Next CMO - The First 90 Days and Beyond. Previously, she was US chair and worldwide director of consumer marketing at WPP firm Hill & Knowlton before its rebranding.
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