Three ways lie ahead

A guest column from Martine Eveille, board account director, Lime and Arc UK

Looking ahead through this year  is impossible without taking a view on the Olympic Games. Those few weeks under the sporting spotlight are going to be the focus of much activity for multiple brands. But inevitably some will end up wasting their money chasing exposure amongst a sea of similar attempts to cut through the marketing noise.

For most official sponsors, the Olympic exposure should provide the right global audience, with massive amplification opportunity.

However, brands that are not Olympic sponsors trying to capitalize on the Games should proceed with caution. One reason for this is the strict policing. Guerilla or ambush marketing is going to be very heavily policed by LOCOG and campaigns that break the rules are going to pay the price. Brands that are contemplating a PR stunt near any Olympic venue must have something truly spectacular or ingenious in mind if they decide to adopt this high risk strategy.

Even for those with a really witty idea, and unafraid of tweaking LOCOGs tail, diving in at the Olympic table may be ill-advised simply because better opportunities may exist elsewhere.

Although the Olympic Games is a national event, London as the host is bound to drive conversation about the capital. There will inevitably be a sizeable chunk of the population who are either not engaged with the sporty messages buzzing out of London, or indeed are actively put off by having so much sport and news from London dominating the media. Reaching out to these people with clever, regionally targeted experiential may be favourably viewed, achieving instant recall by virtue of being out of step and unexpected. The return on this type of marketing investment may be all the greater because of the obligation many global brands will feel they have towards spending the bulk of their money in London. Brands that choose to chip away at target groups may find that there is much less noise and clutter to cut through – and developing a lasting appeal with consumers and shoppers long after the Olympic bandwagon leaves London behind.

Brands that choose to compete in this fashion have a very good chance of holding their own, but there is, of course, a third way – not spending. A steer clear policy may well be a chance to save brand marketing budget for another day.

Experiential is powerful marketing. A brand that chooses to use it to entertain and engage in the ‘down’ post event period in autumn 2012 may well win consumer consideration, and gain ground on rivals who have spent their entire annual budget in the build up to, and during the Games.

Martine Eveille is board account director, Lime and Arc UK

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