Business Advice

3 predictions, 1 consideration and 5 actions to help you make money from the Olympics


We already know what we’re not allowed to do this year to make money, or gain competitive advantage from, the Olympics.

So here’s some thinking to help you increase your brand awareness over the summer and make some money, without getting sued to hell and back by LOCOG.


Let me begin with three predictions.

1) People will watch the games. Despite some cynicism in some quarters, research has suggested that 64% of people think that the Olympics will have a positive effect on the mood of the country.

2) High Streets will be pretty quiet while the bigger contests are on. This is self-evident – i.e. at the 100m final, most people will be gathered around a TV somewhere rather than shopping.

3) Pubs and other communal spaces will probably do well. Just look at the way football fans congregate in pubs/clubs up and down the land every weekend. This will be particularly relevant if Team GB do well and get through to any finals.

Onto the consideration…

While the national mood may be lifted for a time, that doesn’t change the fact that we’re teetering on recession, people are losing their jobs and communities are worried about prices/bills increasing.

So against the optimistic (and, potentially triumphalist) view of the Olympics is the very deeply seated sense of unease and unrest that most in the UK are feeling.

This needs to be borne in mind at all times. Even if Team GB sweep the medals board, we’ll all wake up the next morning with the same levels of national debt, unemployment and so on. To believe anything else would be to put our hopes in a trifling panacea.

Now for the five actions which you can take to put yourself ahead this summer.

1) Look at your media buying. I’ve predicted above that the High Streets will be pretty quiet, and pubs/gathering places will do well. This should inform your media placement strategy – look at where you’re currently advertising and ask yourself whether that placement will be seen by the highest number of people as the competitions really heat up.

Try looking at where people will be congregating – what does this do to your message distribution model?

If you’re fortunate enough to be able to afford TV and radio, check out the times of the contests and try to buy accordingly.

Here’s an example: For radio, think about your customers’ plans around the games. If they’re going to be watching from home, when will they be going out to the shops to buy last minute food/drink? Should you choose to purchase radio time at this ‘sweet spot’, you could find them sitting in their cars in a traffic jam while waiting to get into the car park. A captive audience…

2) Examine your supply strategy, especially in relation to in-home. Although I predict that pubs/communal spaces will do well, I think that the market for in-home (IH) is even bigger than that for out-of-home (OOH) entertainment.

I think that the Olympics presents an incredible opportunity for friends and neighbours to gather (over a BBQ perhaps) in gardens and streets up and down the country, enjoy each other’s company and cheer the teams on.

Furthermore, eating/drinking IH is cheaper than doing so OOH, so if you bear the above consideration in mind, the market could be substantially increased by virtue of the economy.

With this in mind, your business might need to consider how it facilitates an IH experience – helping your customers to get the most out of the summer atmosphere without breaking the bank in the process…

If you’re a retailer, you might consider putting together ‘finger food’ menus and advertising those in the run up to the Olympics (no-one’s going to want a three course dinner while watching the Games live, are they?). Guide your customers into their purchase patterns by suggesting things which will make their enjoyment of the Games at home stress-free, affordable and convenient.

3) Facilitate OOH experience. As far as I can work out, there’s nothing to stop you putting a new TV in your local pub or sports club, even if this act happens to coincide with the Olympics. If you’ve got people congregating in one area and you’ve got the opportunity to put your product in front of them, you need to take it.

If you’re a bigger brand, why not look to organise an OOH experience with a big screen TV, some food and a party atmosphere?

Use community links and bonds to bring people together in an experience facilitated by you – create an event to remember.

4) Read Gary Burt’s comment on my original Olympics post and think about how it applies to you.

How can you access the prevailing mood of sporting optimism, without relying on the Olympics? If you’ve been thinking about sponsoring a local sports team, this could be the time to roll out the agreement.

Think about how you can market to the people who don’t want to watch the Games. Versions of Ikea’s Man-creche idea could start to circulate (although I wouldn’t recommend you do this – Ikea already own that precise space).

5) Don’t mention the Games. Whatever you do this summer, the biggest impact on your bottom line will be mentioning the Olympics, the Games, TeamGB or drawing a link between your brand and the London 2012 Games.

In other words, you’ll get sued.

IF you’re not an official sponsor, trying to use Olympics wording, motifs or even subtle design cues just aren’t worth it.

Over to you.

These are ways I think that you can take advantage of the Olympics this year, without breaking any of the rules.

There will, of course, be many other thoughts, and I’d love to hear them – so please comment below!

If you’re interested in hearing more, or want me to discuss your precise needs in greater depth, please get in contact>. I would love to do business with you.

Disclaimer: The above are my suggestions and this editorial piece is in no way sanctioned by LOCOG. Should you choose to try and leverage the Olympics and choose to use any of the banned words or symbols, or in any other way appear to make an official link between your business and the Olympics, that’s your risk and in no way am I responsible for any outcome.

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