Social medias and the Olympics

Here is something I read about the Olympics and would like to share with you;

The 2008 Beijing Olympics should be the perfect area for social media coverage of the event itself Social media is also being used by many big brands to capitalise upon the Games.

The very reasons we identified for social media coverage of the Games, are being capitalized upon by some big brands, whether or not they are official sponsors.

The very reasons we identified for social media coverage of the Games, are being capitalized upon by some big brands, whether or not they are official sponsors.

Here is a couple:

* McDonald’s has built a viral game called The Lost Ring, where the player uncovers the history of the Olympics (adventures in Ancient Greece and all). It’s a subtle marketing tool for McDonald’s. Their branding is not present in the game and they are pitched more as a sponsor. The terms of the game state: “McDonald’s is proud to sponsor The Lost Ring and bring the spirit of the Olympic Games to people around the world.”
* Lenovo is the more obvious backer of Voices of the Olympic Games. Their site contains blogs from some 100 athletes at this year’s Games and the branding is prominent. The product is also heavily positioned – the site stating that the athletes were provided “new [Lenovo] Ideapad laptops and video cameras to capture their experiences.”

These examples contrast very different approaches. McDonald’s are creating an experience that people will enjoy and will no doubt ensure that people know who it is that is behind the game. This is a subtle way of marketing. They capitalize upon the enthusiasm for both the Olympic Games and for social media to create and experience people will buy into and enjoy. That they may later associate it with McDonald’s is part of the strategy, but this shows social media fitting into a total marketing strategy for the brand during the Games.

Lenovo on the other hand is really branding social media activities. It has given product and a platform to some athletes and is branding their output. This approach is more overt and although it will raise awareness of the product and the brand it is not really doing anything different to it’s other sponsorship of the Games. Lenovo’s branding is all over the Games and is on the blogs too. This is less of strategic social media marketing and more a branding exercise across all media.

Both approaches will be successful. The Olympic Games are a marketers dream – the audiences are huge and the passion is great. Using social media to enhance the experience of the Games (either by providing entertainment and games, or by providing branded content) can only be a positive thing.

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