Case Study: Digital Beijing 2008

Sport Business News

The likes of Nike, CNBC, Speedo and McDonald's assigned large proportions of their 2008 Beijing Olympic Games marketing budgets to digital, having spent little or nothing during the 2004 Athens Olympics.

McDonald's spent zero on digital marketing in the 2004 Summer Games but spent about 10% of its 2008 Olympic marketing budget on new media. Coke's digital spending was up 50% from the 2006 Winter Games. Kleenex, a US Olympic Team supplier, devoted 30% of its Olympic budget to digital marketing. And Speedo, which spent virtually nothing on digital Olympic marketing in 2004, spent 100% of its Olympic budget on digital and public relations in 2008. Nike created Nikelab, a digital showcase of 100 apparel and footwear products worn by athletes in 28 Olympic sports. Visitors to the site could watch 130 videos on products, athletes and interviews with Nike designers and send any of the videos to sharing sites such as Twitter and Facebook with one click. Speedo hosted a newly–revamped SpeedoUSA. com that advertised sportswear worn by athletes during the Games and their more casual apparel afterwards that consumers could buy. " We wanted bang for buck when Olympic awareness was at its highest, " explained Lisa McSorley, Speedo's chief digital officer. " Digital media offers great flexibility, enabling us to reach out to global audiences in seconds. " Bank of America urged fans to post text messages, audio recordings and videos of encouraging cheers for US athletes on AmericasCheer. com via ads on Yahoo. It teamed with YouTube to allow video uploads, Flickr for photos and Facebook to cull text–based cheers. Bank of America also outfitted the 12 athletes it endorsed with cameras and encouraged them to post online updates. Kleenex hired bloggers to drum up interest in the making of a 40–minute Olympic documentary. Let it Out followed the same format of the brand's ad campaign at that time, in which a man listened to emotional stories of people on the street as they sat on a blue couch. The theme: emotional Olympic moments. " We felt we had a great fit with everything the Olympics stands for, " said Anya Schmidt, brand manager. Many marketers wanted to have their brands noticed when consumers used search engines such as Google or Yahoo to get Olympic updates during Beijing 2008. To promote its music–download programme for example, AT&T bought Google terms such as AT&T music, and 2008 Team USA. Yahoo provided display advertising for three major brands across its dedicated Olympics site throughout August 2008. Its top level Olympics homepage was sponsored by Visa, with banners and display units appearing across the page. Olympics Round–Up video content was sponsored by Chevrolet, again with standard display units. Meanwhile, Super 8 Motels, a less traditional Olympics sponsor, supported a TorchTracker application allowing users to follow the trail of the famous Olympic torch across China. According to Yahoo, its coverage of the 2006 Torino Winter Games attracted more unique users than any other site, with nearly 12m visitors over the three–week event. During Beijing 2008, it forecast a 30% to 40% increase in ad sales over the 2006 Winter Games, and an 80% increase from the 2004 Athens Olympics. Another major publisher, NYTimes. com, invested heavily in Olympics–related editorial and video content, supported by advertisers such as Nielsen and, again, Bank of America. Media measurement firm Nielsen purchased a large portion of the inventory available across the NYTimes' dedicated Olympics section, including its Olympics blog, its interactive guide to the games, and its video and mobile content. Bank of America purchased leaderboards and other ads in the section, which ran throughout the Games. " Advertisers come to us for our reach. NYTimes. com delivers advertisers a large, educated and affluent audience, in addition to international reach, " said Todd Haskell, VP advertising for The New York Times and NYTimes. com. In addition, Nielsen bought a single sponsorship of the NYTimes' PLAY magazine, both in print and online, which was dedicated entirely to the Olympics.

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