Olympics legacy must be a long-term benefit

The Olympics hangover is here. The sense of optimism that the London 2012 Games spread across not only the UK but the world has dissipated and we have come thumping back to reality. Rather than headlines about gold medal winners, we are back to dismal predictions about the Greek economy and future of the euro. Sigh.

Ruth Mortimer

So what will fill the optimism gap? In the short term, the Paralympics will take centre stage. The next set of Games are being marketed by a cheeky Channel 4 campaign thanking the Olympics “for the warm up”. The Paralympics are set to be the first in history to sell out, not only a coup for the sportspeople but also the sponsors, who will get visibility to the world at a far more economical rate than their Olympic equivalents.

Channel 4 claims that its advertising slots around the Paralympics opening ceremony have sold out. Jonathan Allan, Channel 4 sales director, says the broadcaster is experiencing a “better than expected” demand for ad slots around the Paralympics with premium packages being sold to non-sponsors hoping to take advantage of the nation’s interest as well as the official event partners.

The Paralympics is also likely to benefit from being more closely associated with the Olympics itself than ever before. The two events share a logo for the first time ever. The mascot of the Paralympics, Mandeville, is always displayed alongside Olympics mascot Wenlock. Royal Mail will also honour Paralympic gold medallists, as they did the winning Olympians, with a post box painted gold in their home town.

Of course, Marketing Week will be tracking the legacy of the Olympics and Paralympics for the UK itself and all the partner brands

Tourism body VisitBritain will also be hoping that the UK can benefit in the afterglow of both sets of Games. Rather than seeing the post-Paralympic period as empty, it will encourage the people watching London 2012 on their screens around the world to make a visit. This is on top of a £10m campaign it will launch with British Airways in September.

But the legacy of the Games must be more than an instant tourist boost. Our analysis of the data from YouGov’s BrandIndex shows that in the immediate period following the Games, the corporate partner that has made most impact on its brand with its Olympics sponsorship is Adidas (see page 5). The data suggests it even outpaced Nike, usually one of the most successful ambush marketers of any Olympics.

Of course, Marketing Week will be tracking the legacy of the Olympics and Paralympics for the UK itself and all the partner brands over the next few months and years, not just these few days. Our columnist Mark Ritson takes a typically abrasive view of whether the Games will be worthwhile for the UK in the long term in his column.

Surely one legacy all marketers would like to take away from London 2012 is renewed confidence. Brand Britain delivered on every count during the Olympics – sporting success, logistics, transport, organisation, enthusiasm and partnership. Now let’s make that happen on an ongoing individual and organisational basis, not just for a few weeks in summer 2012.



London 2012: Brand winners

Seb Joseph

As the curtain closes on the London 2012 Olympic Games, Marketing Week picks out the best marketing campaigns showcased at the London 2012 Games.