On your marks…

April 20, 2012 11:28 am

How content marketers are gearing up for the London Olympics

The sporting extravaganza that is the Olympics is less than 100 days away. Anyone who knows the area of east London where the bulk of the activities will be taking place can testify to its transformation.

But it’s not only a rundown urban area that has been overhauled. Marketing strategies have been completely rethought as content marketers prepare for the ‘social media games’.

At the time of the last Olympics in Beijing in 2008, Facebook was four years old and had some 140 million users. Now, it has around 900 million. Twitter was even more nascent – a two-year-old toddler in 2008 with two million users, a confident schoolie in 2012 with 150 million.

With gains of 642 per cent a staggering 7500 per cent respectively, it’s fair to say the growth of Facebook and Twitter – and social media in general – has been nothing short of phenomenal. Which is why marketers are so keen to tap into it for the Olympic Games.

The social media advantage

A report from Reuters says that ‘advertisers hope that social media will do much of the heavy lifting in raising brand profiles, by getting consumers to chat online’.

‘It’s all about engagement,’ says Peter Applebaum, founder of social media marketing agency Tick Yes and content marketing agency Tick Content (publisher of The Message). ‘Content marketing through social media allows brands to interact with their consumers. By creating relationships they can generate conversations, create coverage and, in the end, increase sales.’

And as Mark Renshaw of US-based advertising agency Leo Burnett told Reuters: ‘[In 2008] online marketing then focused on building websites. Today, brands are building elaborate campaigns… designed to create a buzz on Facebook and other social media sites such as Pinterest and Twitter.’

Samsung’s Olympic social media strategy has doubled the amount of time consumers normally spend on its sites

Olympic social media content marketing strategies

According to Ralph Santana, Chief Marketing Officer at Samsung, Facebook ‘is where consumers are… If you can figure out how to build communities around your brand, it’s really powerful.’

Which is why Samsung has used Facebook to launch its ‘Olympic Genome Project’. Featuring a game called How Olympic Are You?, users are invited to establish their Olympic connections by, for example, finding athletes from their hometowns or athletes who like the same music/movies as them.

As Reuters reports: ‘It gathers the information by tying in to a user’s Facebook page. The game dangles prizes such as discounted electronics and a trip to the Olympics to keep consumers coming back; whenever consumers complete an activity, such as a quiz on Olympic trivia, they are invited to post results to their Facebook page.’

According to Santana, the result has already been a doubling of the amount of time users spend on the site (an average of eight minutes per visit) compared to the standard Samsung sites.

As ever, Coca-Cola is ahead of the game when it comes to content marketing through social media. Its Move to the Beat campaign is based on a song by DJ Mark Ronson and singer Katy B. Fans can collect beat fragments on Facebook and edit a version of the song for their own page.

It comes hot on the heels of the announcement that Coke has just forged a promotional partnership with online streaming service Spotify. Through it, the soft drinks giant will integrate Spotify on its Facebook pages in return for using Spotify to power its Coca-Cola Music program. A joint app is also said to be forthcoming.

Social media ‘drives us toward content that is able to provoke consumer conversation,’ said James Eadie, Olympic Portfolio Director for Coca-Cola. ‘That drives longevity.’

Money well spent

Reuters reports that ‘a comprehensive multimedia Olympic campaign might cost anywhere from $30 million to $50 million’, with digital outlets ‘attracting funds that might have gone to television in prior years’.

It’s a hefty pricetag, but brand executives claim it is well worth it because ‘they can weave tighter connections between their brands and target customers during the Olympics compared to other events.’

Proctor & Gamble is another company with a targeted Olympics social media campaign. Marc Pritchard, P&G’s Global Marketing and Brand Building Officer has clear goals for the campaign: ‘What we want to try to do is get a 10 per cent lift on our Facebook brand pages. That would be a lot quicker than we normally do.’

Pritchard knows from experience how successful an Olympics tie-in can be, saying that recalls of messages after the company’s Vancouver 2010 Olympics television campaign was 30 per cent more than for its regular campaigns.

And with social media powering the conversation, many of the world’s leading brands are betting that those statistics will be even more impressive post-London.


The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

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