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Marketers spare no expense to compete for airtime during the Olympics, and the Rio 2016 Games are no different. With continually rising viewership, the Olympic Games are expected to attract an audience of at least 3.6 billion people worldwide and 217 million in the United States, according to Digiday. The showdown between major sponsors and advertisers starts early, and the top brands are willing to spend millions to win the gold.
From London 2012 to Rio 2016: Who Competed for the Win?
International brands with a broad audience and extensive product offerings have the most to gain from sponsoring the Olympics, as they have the resources and motivation to advertise in multiple countries. The goliath multinational corporation P&G served as a worldwide sponsor for the London 2012 Games and dominated the global market, ranking among the top ten advertisers for five countries.
Although athletes take the center stage during the Olympic events, everyday consumer products are typically the stars of major marketing campaigns. As of August 15, 2016, P&G ranked fourth among advertisers for the Rio games, spending roughly $29.2 million across thirty brands. The corporation designated the most funds for brands such as Proctor & Gamble, Olay, Gillette, Crest and Tide. A common selling point of all these brands is that they appeal to the essential needs of ordinary consumers while providing distinct product tie-in value for athletes.
Coca-Cola, Visa, BMW and McDonald's are also steady contenders who have made a strong global marketing effort for several years. While the prime competition remains the same, some brands radically change their marketing strategies from one event to the next, whether it's increasing the budget or targeting fewer countries. Compared to top spenders, Samsung made a modest showing in 2012, but the brand emerged as the leading advertiser as a 2016 worldwide sponsor. With more than $50 million in ad spend, Samsung outclassed its closest competitor, BMW, by over $13 million.
Marketing Beyond the Telecast
With the Olympic Games lasting less than a month, it's unsurprising that major brands launch their campaigns about 100 days before the big event. In fact, by March 29, 2016, NBC had already netted $1 billion in ad sales for the Rio 2016 Games. In the days leading up to the Olympics, brands specifically target sports fans, connecting with a loyal audience that routinely uses social media to interact with other fans while viewing their favorite sporting events. However, the entire world (or, at least, most of it) is watching and engaging with branded content, which means the massive multinational corporations aren't the only brands that can make an impact.
Local and digital media provide valuable opportunities for smaller domestic brands to gain a voice with their audiences. Global Web Index estimated that 85 percent of Olympic viewers would use second-screen devices while watching the event. More than ever, brand marketers should be leveraging multimedia strategies in the battle to win consumer attention, and that means using everything from native and mobile ads to video and TV commercials.
Reach out to consumers in the places they frequently visit for information and social sharing, such as blogs, videos and social media sites. Adopt messages that relate the brand to an Olympics-oriented audience, using themes that emphasize leadership, devotion to goals and superior performance. An effective multimedia strategy takes thoughtful planning and an understanding of your audience. For advice on reaching consumers through multimedia marketing, contact the LA Times today.