Author archive for ‘Tim Crow’

The 5 Key Olympic Sponsorship Implications of the IOC’s Agenda 2020


Earlier this week the IOC approved the 40 recommendations in new IOC President Thomas Bach’s Olympic Agenda 2020, the ‘strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement’. Although the overall implications have been extensively covered elsewhere – check out in particular this excellent piece by David Owen – no-one has yet looked in detail at the key implications for Olympic sponsorship. So, here’s my view.

1. Buyability: Bach puts clear water between the IOC and FIFA

The Agenda 2020 white paper was published a few days after FIFA once again descended into chaos. Although this was coincidental, it emphasised both how open the Agenda 2020 process was, and how clearly it was designed to make the IOC and the Olympics fit for the future – both in stark contrast to FIFA. The key word here is buyability. Agenda 2020 is not only re-assuring for existing Olympic sponsors: it also makes the IOC and the Olympics far more buyable than FIFA and the World Cup – the IOC’s primary competition for potential global sponsors. In Agenda 2020, President Bach has put an ocean of buyability between himself and FIFA.

2. Partnership: actions speak louder than words

In our experience, most rights holders genuinely want to create partnerships with sponsors, but all too often find it tough to make it happen. In this respect it was very good to see how integrated IOC TOPs were in Agenda 2020, with representatives on several of the working groups. How often have you seen a rights holder embark on a process as far reaching as Agenda 2020 with its sponsors embedded in the development and execution of the recommendations? The IOC has created a new gold standard.

3. The IOC’s youth strategy is still in a mess

The average age of an Olympics consumer – as defined by broadcast TV, the Olympics’ primary distribution channel and revenue source – is now over fifty and rising. This is now a crisis for the IOC, which must find a way to engage with younger audiences to ensure its future and to retain and attract sponsors, and is thus a key theme of Agenda 2020. And the plain fact is that Agenda 2020 revealed that the IOC youth strategy is a long-running mess. The Youth Olympic Games – the Rogge-era IOC’s ill-conceived attempt to solve the problem – has demonstrably failed in its current format, and the total re-boot approved in Agenda 2020 was long overdue. The new Olympic Channel – of which more below – is key to solving the problem. But above all it was good to see Agenda 2020 acknowledge the need that it needs strategic partners from outside the Olympic Movement, and to involve its sponsors far more, in its youth marketing strategy.

4. The Olympic Channel is all about content, not distribution

The newly-approved Olympic Channel should have been launched years ago, but wasn’t for fear of damaging the IOC’s cash cow, its broadcasters, particularly in the US. But now it is here, it is to be welcomed. It’s a vital enabler in enabling the IOC to to take the Olympics to digital-first younger audiences. But this is not about what screens it lands on, but what lands on the screens. When the Olympic channel was first mooted I advocated strongly that the IOC should look to co-create content with its sponsors, and it was good to see that this featured (albeit with the usual IOC caveats about branding) in Agenda 2020. Above all, I hope that the IOC takes an enlightened approach to its content strategy, way beyond the archive and Olympic sports coverage. How about, for example, a strand dedicated to eSports, the Millennial gaming phenomenon, with an Olympic theme?

5. Sponsors’ activation footprints should remain discretionary, not mandatory

The most potentially controversial sponsorship-specific Agenda 2020 recommendation was to introduce a programme designed to increase local activation by TOPs. This is a longstanding issue in Olympic circles. Understandably, every NOC wants TOPs to activate at scale in their country, and becomes frustrated if they don’t. Equally understandably, and quite rightly, TOPs want to control the geographic footprint of their activation programmes and align them to their business priorities. This must continue, and as such in my view TOPs should resist the IOC suggestion of contractual obligations. Meanwhile, the new marketing capability programme for NOCs – to be run, interestingly, by P&G – promises to ease, if not remove, the issue.

Further reading:

Olympic Agenda 2020 Recommendations

Olympic Agenda 2020 Context and Background


By on December 11th, 2014

Tags: Default, IOC, Olympic sponsorship, Olympic sponsorship consultants, Rio 2016, Rio 2016 Sponsorship, Rio 2016 Sponsorship Consultants, Socialympics, Sponsorship, Sponsorship consultants, Tokyo 2020, World Cup, World Cup Sponsorship, World Cup Sponsorship Consultants

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Maxwell, Manchester, Glasgow: My Commonwealth Games Memories

I couldn’t have been more excited for Glasgow 2014. Over the years I’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time working for clients in Glasgow. It’s a special, special place, and I very quickly grew to love it and it’s people. I had no doubt that Glasgow would stage a great Games, and that the city and it’s people will be stars of the show.

This is the third edition of the Commonwealth Games in the UK that I’ve worked on: the first two created some vivid, and highly contrasting, memories.

In 1986 I was working at the Mirror Group, and became part of the team responsible for delivering the Mirror’s last-minute sponsorship of the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games. The Mirror sponsorship positioned Mirror owner Robert Maxwell and the Mirror Group as coming to the rescue of the Games, which was already in a financial crisis subsequently compounded by a boycott by over half of the Commonwealth countries in protest at the UK’s links with apartheid South Africa. It’s difficult to argue that the promotional and organisational momentum Maxwell brought to the Games saved it from humiliation. But the reality was that it was an aggressive takeover – arguably the biggest ambush marketing job in history – which was, like most things at the Mirror, a vehicle for Maxwell backed by empty financial promises.


This is the definitive article on Maxwell and Edinburgh ’86, by Brian Oliver, extracted from his forthcoming book on the Commonwealth Games. Some of the stories in there may sound incredible, but I can assure you that they’re true – I was there for most of them, and more besides (such as the time he invaded the track during the Opening Ceremony). Working for Maxwell on Edinburgh ’86 was often chaotic and surreal, but it taught me very valuable lessons about sponsorship – both how to do it and how not to do it – which I still use today.

Fast forward sixteen years  to Manchester 2002, a very different Games and Games experience, but with, for me at least, one similarity to Edinburgh ’86; another sponsorship of the Commonwealth Games by a media company, in this case the Guardian Media Group (GMG). But it could not have been more different to the Mirror’s.

By this time I was at Synergy (or Karen Earl Sponsorship as it was then known) and we advised and led the delivery of GMG’s Manchester 2002 sponsorship, which was an award-winning success. GMG’s print and digital media provided vital support and promotion for the Games; showcased GMG’s diverse media titles; demonstrated GMG’s commitment to and historic links with Manchester; and also provided a highly successful internal platform to build GMG employee pride and engagement, an area in which Synergy continues to specialise today.

And of course, unlike Edinburgh 1986, Manchester 2002 was hailed by all as a huge success, in particular in showcasing and accelerating Manchester’s transformation, delivering tangible legacies, and confounding the sceptics by showing the world that the UK could successfully stage a major multi-sport event – in many ways paving the way for London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Fast forward to Glasgow 2014, which Synergy has been working on for SSE, the Games’ first Tier One sponsor, since last year. You can find out all about the SSE Glasgow 2014 sponsorship here and here,  and get involved with the SSE GoGlasgow campaign here by tweeting your support for one of the home nations teams by using either #GoEngland, #GoNI, #GoScotland or #GoWales.


Every hashtagged tweet registered on SSE’s GoGlasgow Twitter leaderboard and generates extra funding for the stars of the future via the SSE Next Generation programme.

Go Glasgow!

By on July 23rd, 2014

Tags: Commonwealth Games, Default, Sponsorship, Sponsorship Activation, Sponsorship consultants, Synergy, Twitter

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Passion points sell, 42% more often. Google it.

How often do we hear rights holders, brands and sponsorship agencies talk of ‘engaging consumers through their passion points’, or similar, to justify sponsorship investments? It has become the de facto rationale. But what substantiates that principle?

Synergy’s Tom Gladstone wrote that back in 2011 in this great post on how to use sponsorship to create meaningful emotional engagement, and then as now I couldn’t agree more. I can’t count the times I’ve heard or read sponsorship practitioners talk about passion points as a de facto rationale, but rarely heard it supported by the fact-based evidence of effectiveness that CMOs would require as standard.

That’s one of many reasons why at Synergy we focus so much on effectiveness driven by innovation, and why, if you’re in the sponsorship business, Google’s new research on why consumers strongly prefer passion point based marketing is worth your time.

Google snapshot

Here’s the stat that sums it all up (my highlights): 

Consumers choose the brands that engage them on their passions and interests 42% more often than they do those that simply urge them to buy the product being advertised.

But there’s a warning too (again, my highlights):

Consumers are hungry to live their passions. The brands that can satisfy that appetite will reap the rewards. To do that, they’ll need to keep their focus firmly on their brand’s core and how it relates to their consumers’ passions. 

Wise words. After all, how often do you see sponsorship campaigns that invoke passion, but not only lack passion but also, crucially, any meaningful link to the brand?

Discuss, dispassionately – as Unofficial Partner would and indeed has said, on the same subject.

By on July 2nd, 2014

Tags: Advertising, Brand marketing, Default, Innovation, Sponsorship, Sponsorship consultants, Synergy

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Five Real Time Marketing Lessons From #Suarez

So, the World Cup has just had what you might call its first Oreo moment, in the shape of Luis Suarez’s alleged bite mark on Giorgio Chiellini, the subsequent social media explosion (there were two million tweets mentioning Suarez in the hour after the game), and numerous brands’ social media attempts to exploit the opportunity. Given all the pre-tournament buzz about Brazil 2014 being the first real-time World Cup and the readiness of brands to leverage moments like Suarez’s bite real time, it’s interesting to take a look at what actually happened. Here are five things I noticed in the 24 hours since the incident.

1. Despite the significant number of brands who attempted to leverage #Suarez, very few achieved mass levels of engagement. Here are the two most successful I’ve come across so far.

(Translation: Hi Luis Suarez, if you are still hungry, come take a bite out of a Big Mac).

I doubt that either of them will win any awards for creativity, or humour, any time soon. There are more creative, and much funnier executions out there. This, by Bud Light, for example.

But look at the number of re-tweets compared to McDonald’s and Nando’s, and most importantly the time it took to publish the tweet after the event. Bud Light, like most, didn’t react quickly enough. McDonald’s and Nando’s did. And in real time, above all, speed wins.

See also Evander Holyfield. Fast (over an hour quicker than Bud Light), relevant and funny.


2. Talking of funny, there was some absolutely brilliant stuff out there created by outliers, but none of it went big because they didn’t have the distribution skills or the platforms.

For brands, crowd-sourcing from outliers is an untapped opportunity in real time.

3. By far the majority of the brands that did try to gatecrash the party were non-sponsors. Search for Suarez on Twitter, or check out the innumerable lists of Suarez executions that are flying around in the media, and you’ll see what I mean.

Bye bye Bavaria et al. Ambush marketing has gone social and real-time.

4. Of the sponsors, McDonald’s was the big winner, but most of the sponsors didn’t play, in all likelihood because they couldn’t come up with something good enough fast enough that was relevant to their brands. All those brand World Cup war-rooms would have been an interesting place to be last night. But I noticed several of the bigger brands buying Suarez as a term on Twitter.

If you can’t think your way in, buy your way in. Fair enough, but nowhere near as good as becoming part of the conversation organically.

5. There was a lot of hilarity in the sports marketing ecosystem when Listerine, a World Cup sponsor via Johnson & Johnson’s FIFA deal, unveiled its #PowerTo YourMouth campaign, in particular this quote from a senior Listerine exec in the launch PR:

“The World Cup is a good opportunity to get people to reconsider the importance of oral care beyond cleaning your teeth, and to consider what a mouth goes through.”

Really? But when the Suarez incident happened last night, the first thing I thought of was #PowerToYourMouth and the gilt-edged real-time opportunity it presented for Listerine, and I tweeted as much.

Now I can’t say that what Listerine came up with really did justice to the opportunity, especially compared to the likes of McDonalds:


But I loved the fact that they took the time and trouble to reply to my tweet with a customised line.

Now that’s great marketing.

By on June 25th, 2014

Tags: Ambush Marketing, Branded content, Brazil 2014, Brazil 2014 Sponsorship, Default, Football Sponsorship, Real Time Marketing, Social Media, Sponsorship Activation, Sponsorship consultants, World Cup, World Cup Sponsorship, World Cup Sponsorship Consultants

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Synergy’s 2014 Marketing World Cup Infographic

With the greatest football show on earth now having kicked off in Brazil, we’ve delved into the past, present and future of the FIFA World Cup off the field to bring you Synergy’s 2014 Marketing World Cup Infographic. Enjoy.

By on June 13th, 2014

Tags: Brazil, Brazil 2014, Brazil 2014 Sponsorship, Football Sponsorship, Sponsorship, Sponsorship consultants, Synergy, Synfographic, World Cup, World Cup Sponsorship

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Tim Crow’s World Cup adwatch for Campaign

With Brazil 2014 kicking off this week, Tim Crow reviews five major brands’ World Cup ads for Campaign magazine, including Adidas, Nike and Pepsi.

Click here for the article.   

By on June 9th, 2014

Tags: Advertising, Brazil 2014, Creative, Football Sponsorship, Press Clipping, Sponsorship, Sponsorship Activation, Sponsorship consultants, World Cup, World Cup Sponsorship, World Cup Sponsorship Consultants

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What’s the Best Sponsorship of the last 20 Years?

It’s awards season in sponsorship in the UK, and everyone at Synergy Towers is pleased as punch to have multiple nominations again in the UK Sponsorship Awards and the Sport Industry Awards, both as an agency and for our work for BMW on England Rugby, Bupa for the My First Run campaign featuring Jo Whiley, Capital One for the Capital One Cup and RBS for the RBS 6 Nations.

We’re also incredibly proud that the Coca-Cola title sponsorship of the Football League, which ran from 2005-2010 and which Synergy conceived, negotiated and managed for Coca-Cola, and the British Airways London 2012 sponsorship, which Synergy partnered BA in negotiating, have both been nominated for ‘Best Sponsorship of the Last 20 years’, a one-off category to celebrate the UK Sponsorship Awards 20th anniversary, and which in a great innovation will decided by a voting process which is open to all.

Coca-Cola Club Colours

Coca-Cola’s activation of the Football League featured a series of groundbreaking campaigns, led by Coke changing its colours, for the first time in its history, to match the colours of the 72 Football League clubs.

The full list of nominees for the Best Sponsorship of the Last 20 Years award is:

British Airways London 2012, Cadbury’s Coronation Street, Carling Premiership & Carling Cup, Coca-Cola Football League, Domino’s Pizza Simpsons on Sky, John Smith’s Grand National, Lloyds TSB London 2012, The O2, O2 England Rugby, Orange Wednesdays, Sky Cycling, T in The Park and Unilever Series at Tate Modern.

Congratulations to all the brands, agencies and people involved, there’s some truly brilliant work in here.

To vote for your choice, email with your choice (make sure you vote by the deadline of March 5) and to see how the voting is going follow @SponsNews on Twitter.

By on February 27th, 2014

Tags: Awards, Default, Football Sponsorship, London 2012, Olympic sponsorship, Olympic sponsorship consultants, Sponsorship, Sponsorship consultants, Synergy

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#Synergy30: Michael Payne on the future of Olympic sponsorship

Foreword by Tim Crow, CEO Synergy 

To mark Synergy’s 30th year in business, throughout 2014 we’re going to look at the future of sports and entertainment marketing with specially-created pieces of #Synergy30 content, some made by us, some made by friends of the company. 

Last month Patrick Nally looked at the future of sponsorship, calling for a radical re-think of the global sporting ecosystem that his pioneering sponsorship model did so much to create.

This month, to coincide with the end of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, we’re delighted to have our old friend Michael Payne, former Marketing Director of the International Olympic Committee, share his views on the future of Olympic sponsorship.


Michael Payne

Like Synergy, the The Olympic Partners (TOP) global sponsorship programme is 30 years old this year and continues to be held up by many as the gold standard, the ultimate proof being the renewal rates and the nature of the commitments TOP sponsors are making. Most have committed through to 2020 and in Sochi the IOC announced that Panasonic had committed to 2024. That was a surprise for many – the Japanese company has rarely been a first mover: to sponsor Tokyo 2020 was to be expected, but to extend out to 2024 with a rumoured doubling of rights fees, was not. Something about TOP is clearly working to make major corporations like Panasonic, Coca-Cola, Visa and so on commit on a multi- decade basis. 

Panasonic President Kazuhira Tsuga and IOC President Thomas Bach at the Signing Ceremony in Sochi for the new Panasonic Olympic sponsorship. Its extension to 2024 took observers by surprise. (Photo: Business Wire)

Panasonic President Kazuhira Tsuga and IOC President Thomas Bach at the Signing Ceremony in Sochi for the new Panasonic Olympic sponsorship. Its extension to 2024 took observers by surprise. (Photo: Business Wire)

That’s the positive side. Less positively, if you look at the rights and benefits that are offered, nothing has changed materially in the last 15 years. There is a challenge and a debate as to how you evolve the rights offering so that it is more in tune with the marketing programmes of major business-to-consumer and business-to-business brands today.

You could argue that there is no need, because the TOP sponsors are renewing without change, but there is a challenge in how you are going to grow the TOP revenue base, which frankly is getting very flat, by clearly expanding the window of opportunity and the platform – taking it beyond the traditional ‘Games and Teams’ environment and opening up areas the Olympics brand has tremendous potential in – in particular education and health.

With the changing of the guard and the new president of the IOC, who clearly is starting to shake things up, there has never been a better time to look at how TOP can evolve and step up to a new level. Bach’s Agenda 2020, which was laid forth at the IOC Session in Sochi and due for ratification by end of 2014, has the potential to totally transform the landscape – people are only just beginning to realize the full extent of the revolution in play.

Take education as an example. The big brands have explored the educational space over the years, but generally only on an ad hoc basis in host countries. But how you could take the Olympic brand and values as an overall theme and use them as a vehicle to teach everything from maths and history – that’s a really interesting, untapped opportunity. There are others of course, whether it’s doing a better job in showcasing technology stories, whether it’s properly realising the potential of the digital environment, where very little has been done from a structural standpoint. But the bottom line is that the TOPs, and potential TOPs, are up for this type of territory now and the IOC, if it wants to maintain the gold standard, needs to push these and other boundaries.

The same leap in thinking is needed as when the programme was founded in 1984, because every sponsors’ category has evolved so much. In 1984 the whole focus of the sponsorship industry was exposure. And the IOC knew the scale of the challenge: the one thing that the IOC couldn’t deliver for sponsors was exposure, because it was never going bring advertising into the venues. So the challenge was to create a programme that was meaningful to the companies without exposure. Today, the challenge is the total transformation of the various sponsors’ industries and the rise of digital and social media, and the IOC needs to raise the bar again.

Much can be done to extend the platform beyond the traditional two weeks. Not only through the amount of stories and content that the Games creates as incredible context, but also the opportunities for events and networking all year round, that USOC does very well for example. If I look back at London 2012, not in any way to take anything away from the success of the Games, but from the marketing standpoint there was zero new thinking in terms of rights and benefits. Everything new came from the sponsors, there was no innovation from LOCOG, and the IOC didn’t challenge its organising committee to raise the game.

And as well as a leap in the content of the package, there must be a leap in revenues too. From a financial perspective, if you compare TOP programme revenues now with host country revenues, there is a big disparity: local sponsors are paying much higher fees and that isn’t a one-off – the last three or four Games have all demonstrated this.

If the programme stays static on revenue and stale on content, by 2020 there will be a serious problem.

Michael Payne, February 2014.


About Michael Payne  

Michael has been at the forefront of the sports marketing industry for over thirty years. From 1983 to 2004 he led the global marketing effort for the Olympic Movement as the IOC’s first Marketing and Broadcast Rights Director, and now runs his own strategic advisory business serving a diverse group of clients including Formula 1 and Crystal Digital, where he serves as Chair of international operations.

His book ‘Olympic Turnaround’, which tells the definitive story of how the Olympic Games stepped back from the brink of bankruptcy to become a multi-billion dollar brand, has been translated into 14 languages and sold over one million copies.

By on February 25th, 2014

Tags: Beijing 2008, Default, IOC, London 2012 sponsorship, Olympic sponsorship, Pyeonchang 2018, Rio 2016, Rio 2016 Sponsorship, Sponsorship, Sponsorship consultants, Tokyo 2020, Winter Olympics

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The Sochi 2014 Marketing Olympics, Part 5: My Ten Creative Picks

Every Olympics is always a global festival of creativity, inspiring an incredible array of work from around the world. Sochi has continued this trend, from brands inside and outside the Olympic Movement and – enabled increasingly by social media – from fans. To round off this series of posts, I’m going to celebrate this creativity with an unashamedly personal selection of ten brilliant, Sochi-inspired works. So here goes, in no particular order.

Guinness – ‘Twins’

It’s very, very rare for a brand to evoke the absolute essence of the Olympic spirit. Simple, powerful, breathtaking.

Nike – Team Canada

Even if you don’t love Canada or hockey, you’ll love this.

Visa – ‘Every Four Years, Winter Nails It’

Many brands have used winter as a theme, but Visa – which has had a great Games, innovating creatively and strategically – gets a gold medal for this one.


Canadian Insititute of Diversity & Inclusion – ‘Luge’

Five million views in two weeks: ’nuff said.

Ria Novosti – Interactive Guide To Sochi 2014′s Sports

The screengrab below doesn’t even begin to do this justice. It’s brilliant and, I warn you, highly addictive. Check it out in all its interactive glory here.


Molson Passport-Activated Beer Fridge

Along with Megafon’s MegaFaces, the on-site brand activation of Sochi 2014.

New York Times – Sochi Luge Experience

This amazing film takes you a luge at top speed down the Sochi track. Don’t watch it just after you’ve eaten. But do watch it.

NYT Luge

The Onion – Lolo Jones Becomes First American To Be Objectified In Both Winter and Summer Events

If you haven’t already, I urge you to read this piece by The Onion. Brilliantly funny and spot-on.


AFP Skeleton Helmets

Cool gear has been a thing at Sochi and I particularly loved this Fabrizio Bensch shot of Canada’s Sarah Reid.

Sarah Reid Sochi

 NASA – Sochi from space

Although there has been some stunning photography coming out of Sochi, nothing beats this shot, taken from the International Space Station 200 miles above the Olympic Park. Wow.

NASA Sochi from space

By on February 21st, 2014

Tags: Advertising, Default, Olympic sponsorship, Olympic sponsorship consultants, Olympics, Sochi 2014, Sponsorship consultants, Winter Olympics

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The Sochi 2014 Marketing Olympics, Part 4: The #Sochialympics

Back in February 2012 when Synergy coined the term #Socialympics (which subsequently went viral and was even adopted by the IOC), it was clear that the mass-adoption of social media was going to have a profound effect on London 2012. So it proved, as we discussed at our two #Socialympics panel events either side of the 2012 Games. Two years on, the effect has been no less profound on Sochi 2014, so here’s my take on some of the key moments and learnings of the #Sochialympics.

Social Ambush

As I wrote on Monday in the first of this series of posts, social media has replaced the international leg of the Torch Relay as the lightning rod for Olympic protest. For Olympic sponsors in particular, the hijacking of the McDonalds #cheerstosochi campaign should now be a key case study. (On which point, why is McDonald’s still displaying the fact that the campaign has only attracted a few thousand cheers?)

The #Sochialympics also showed how effective social is for ambushers.

My ambush gold medal goes to Zippo: Sochi’s first social ambush was also its best, a brilliant piece of reactive marketing and savvy “Who me?” PR.



Silver goes to USOC sponsor JCPenney’s #tweetingwithmittens, for ambushing the Super Bowl with the Olympics.


And bronze goes to Crowdtilt for showcasing their platform to send the Jamaican bobsledders to Sochi and leverage probably the biggest feelgood story of the Sochi Games.



#SochiSelfies and #SochiProblems    

The #SelfieOlympics was the first big web meme of the year, as I wrote in January along with a few suggestions as to what the IOC and the Olympic Movement could learn from it.

As tens of thousands of these shots were taken in bathrooms, it was pleasingly symmetrical as well as hugely entertaining that the first big #Sochialympics meme was #sochiproblems, driven by journalists’ pictures of their Sochi hotel experiences. This was then seized on by a 20 year old Canadian journalism major, whose savvy curation won his @SochiProblems Twitter handle over 330,000 followers – 60,000 more than @Sochi2014. A parable of our times.

But in the photos-in-bathroom stakes, no question that the big winner was US bobsledder Johnny Quinn, with this picture, which went viral, generated a blitz of media stories and has made him a household name in the US. 


And to bring us full circle in this particular loop, selfies have been a big thing at Sochi, with athletes – perhaps influenced by the #SelfieOlympics? – spontaneously adopting the #SochieSelfies hashtag, and many NOCs creating their own versions to drive engagement.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

With Facebook focused on its NBC tie-up, Twitter has pushed out a lot of Olympic-related content during the Games to drive attention and conversation, including collages of the most-shared photos, heatmaps of which countries are mentioning the Olympics most (I included one in my post on Monday), and infographics about medal-winning athletes’ follower growth, such as this one for GB’s Lizzie Yarnold:


In contrast to one-dimensional TV viewing figures, it’s revealed fascinating insights into local and global consumer behaviour and engagement with the Games.

The IOC has predictably reported big growth in social numbers. With an Olympic TV channel very much on the agenda – for the periods between Games – nurturing this community becomes ever more important for IOC.

Sochi 2014 CEO Dmitry Cheryshenko (@DChernyshenko) has shown top Olympic officials – and sporting officialdom generally – how to use social for the job while staying real. Same goes for Ricardo Fort of Visa (@SportByFort) when it comes to sponsors.

Under Ricardo, Visa has put much more into social in Sochi than it did in London and has got a big uplift in interactivity.

Sochi has also seen a growing contrast between ‘tweets for hire’ athletes intent on growing their followers and happy for their streams to be scripted by sponsors, versus ‘the naturals’, such as Iouri Podladtchikov – aka ‘I-Pod’ – the halfpiper who dethroned Shaun White and said:

“I really don’t care if it’s 10,000 followers or 100,000. I just want it to be me … even if it’s not selling.”      

At the other end of the scale is Maria Sharapova who, not content with her NBC and Torch-bearing duties and contractual appearances for long-term sponsors Nike and Samsung in Sochi, also cut a one-off deal for a series of posts for McDonald’s from the Games.

But this hasn’t been the #Sochialympics.

It’s been the #Tinderlympics.

Or maybe the #Grindrlympics.

By on February 20th, 2014

Tags: Ambush Marketing, Default, IOC, London 2012, Olympic sponsorship, Olympic sponsorship consultants, Olympic Torch Relay, Olympics, Rio 2016 Sponsorship, Rio 2016 Sponsorship Consultants, Sochi 2014, Socialympics, Sponsorship consultants, Twitter

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