The Stop / Start Marketing of the Olympics


A year later than expected, the Olympics are back on, which is great news for fans around the world. Tokyo 2020 was meant to start summer 2020 as the name suggests but due to the world pandemic the decision was made to postpone the games until this year.

From a promotional point of view this presented quite a headache; Starting their campaign back in 2019 with a ‘one year to go’ they had a clear strategy to promote the games internationally, across various cultures & languages. When Covid hit, there was much speculation as to whether it would take place in 2020, so what do you do about marketing in that unprecedented situation? Does one continue to promote something that may not go ahead?

Once the call had been made to postpone the Olympics, the marketing campaign had to be pulled back and a new strategy devised. An extra year sounds like it should be easy to re-market but with a changed world, they needed to rethink their strategy. If you’ve been following the build up to the games you’ll have seen a change of tactics, with many of the athletes now connecting with fans via social media such as Instagram Live. They are taking a more ‘people-centric’ approach, trying to get straight to the fans. Virtual festivals have been introduced to try to keep the spirit of the games alive.

They have also taken advantage of television advertising, as bigger groups of people are either in lockdown or isolating so TV viewing figures have shot up this year.

Local Business

The adaption of the Olympics marketing teams has been echoed in what smart marketing agencies have been doing locally; looking for alternatives to the more traditional online marketing & promotions, even going more old school onto TV and radio.

Business are turning to flexible marketing partners, those who can think on their feet & be agile, rather than a rigid 3 year plan. There has to be the ability to switch off or on almost on a daily basis, which is where digital works so well. Assuming everything around a marketing funnel is functioning correctly and well, channels such as pay per click can be switched off if a business has to close suddenly but be switched back on immediately as soon as it reopens.

To talk to any of our digital marketing specialists about flexible campaigns click here or call 0151 348 7044.


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