Clever Marketing at Olympic Games
London’s Olympic Games are not only highlights for sports disciplines but also high times for sponsors and outfitters and of course the watchdog IOC International Olympic Committee
Three sponsors, Visa, Mac Donald and adidas paid USD 155 million for its official London 2012 Olympic Games sponsorship but the cleverness of non-sponsor Nike’s marketing really made an inroad with its bold commercials, smart PR moves and its ubiquitous and distinctive neon-yellow Volt shoes athletes were wearing!
Just when the Games started, the London Games organisers considered legal action against Nike but then dropped the idea. The IOC relentlessly had patrols blocking non Olympic advertisers from crashing the lavish marketing party of official Games sponsors, banned athletes from tweeting about their personal sponsors. But the logo polices was idle against the clever marketing of Nike and its competitors were fuming, because Olympians can wear whatever shoes they feel and those offering a crack to them at the winner’s podium.
Nike’s cleverness was to leverage the combination of their recognisable trade dress and logo to the Olympic-sized brand identification without an Olympic-sized budget. It was exactly the kind of guerrilla product insertion that makes marketers smile and drives the IOC nuts!
The result was splendid for Nike, over 400 athletes were wearing the Volt Nike footwear at the Games and thereof a majority of those are in track and field but also in boxing and fencing. Until last Friday 41 athletes gaining medals were wearing the Nike shoes and 43 % of track and field athletes.
Nike stated: “Of all the colours of the rainbow, the human eye and visual system is most sensitive to the yellow/green zone and the power of this visual signal is capitalised on when the background is highly contrasting which the London Olympic track is reddish. The human eye has relatively low sensitivity to red against much higher sensitivity to Volt colour. Nike always looks to provide its athletes with the best in design and innovation on the world’s biggest stages. Volt is a strong, dynamic colour and it has certainly become a visible signature of Nike during the summer of competition and was a public eye catcher at the Games.
At an early stage of the Games Nike scored another public relations coup: Egyptian athletes were discovered parading in counterfeit Nike warm-up outfits, because they couldn’t afford authentic gear and instead of complaining about the piracy, Nike offered them free gear.
Nike landed another success and run TV ads “Find Your Greatness” featuring every day athletes, rugby players, marathoners, cyclists, swimmers and wrestlers competing in London, Ohio (USA) and London (Norway) and East London (South Africa) and therefore IOC rule 40 could not be applied since Nike has never mentioned London (GB). This created the attention of consumers and spectators and inspired positive thoughts and feeling about the Olympics.
Of course everyone was convinced that Nike was one of the great sponsors of the Olympic Games and with a twinkle of the eye Nike was the most important non-official sponsor of all!