Advertising for the Olympics

The Olympics are the most visible sporting event in the world. For example, Kantar Media reports that the 2008 Beijing Olympics was the most-watched program in TV history with nearly 8 million viewers over 17 nights of broadcast.

It’s no wonder that as London gears up to host the 2012 Summer Games, advertisers have also been boosting their sales and marketing strategies to capitalize on this one-of-a-kind opportunity.

For example, ABC News reports that Proctor & Gamble has a corporate campaign catering specifically to the Olympics as well as sponsorship arrangements with approximately 150 athletes. It expects to drive more than $500 million in sales this summer, which is five times what it earned the first time it sponsored an event, which was the 2010 Winter Games.

That year, when the Olympics were hosted in Vancouver, decimated previous records for online and mobile marketing during these popular competitions. Viewers totaled nearly 2 billion worldwide just from smartphones and the Internet. The Vancouver Games worked with nine global partners and 50 other sponsors, including GE and, of course, P&G.

This year, advertisers affiliated with 2012 Olympics marketing break down into four categories: Official Worldwide Partners (including, again, GE and P&G), Official Partners, Official Supporters and Official Supplier/Providers. The total for the London Games is 42 brand affiliates across the board in all four slots.

Naturally, we all don’t have the budgets and outreach for that kind of global marketing opportunism. But it does give smaller businesses an idea of how they can take advantage of local and topical events through regional advertising and sponsorship to also get ahead of the competition while the getting’s good.

And, of course, staking a claim on an event that’s already guaranteed to garner a lot of publicity – for example, a major standoff between local rival sports teams – can help you take advantage of the wave of public attention while saving on the usual costs of reaching such a massive audience.

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