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Stories to chase in Olympics marketing and advertising buzz

olympics

Find a story in London Olympics related merchandise and advertising. Pictured above are Gap's Olympic T-shirts.

With the opening ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympics expected to take place on Friday, and the games to dominate headlines for the next couple of weeks, it’s time to look for some related stories that can appeal even to people who aren’t either athletes or heading to England for the games.

One fun idea (that also works during the Halloween and winter holiday periods) is to keep an eye out for quirky or unexpected merchandise tie-ins or packaging.  Here’s an AdWeek Olympics portal with a number of observations about Olympics advertising. The Olympics as a brand are more tightly controlled than generic holidays, of course, but you still might find oddball  marriages for a consumer goods round-up.  The Gap stores, for example, have produced a line of vintage Olympic T-shirt replicasNature Valley granola bars sports special Olympics packaging, as do Benefit cosmetics and, of course, myriad Procter & Gamble products from razors to Pampers.

Pampers, really?  A round-up of the kookiest merchandise tie-ins might make a good backdrop for a substantive analysis of the state of consumer goods marketing, and the pros and cons for companies of linking themselves to events and pop culture.  Here’s a look at, for example, the stock performance of major Olympic sponsor partners as pre-game hype revs up; most enjoyed a boost in share price.  A personal finance piece on Olympics-led investing might be interesting; you could go beyond the consumer goods partners to suppliers, equipment makers and other businesses related to the training and development of Olympic athletes.

Post-Olympic performance might be another career angle; if your market boasts any former Olympians, how about a look at how they continue to benefit from their star turn as speakers or coaches?  This speakers bureau, for example, lists a number of former Olympics participants on its roster.  How can athletes parlay their prowess into long-term career and financial success?

Local TV stations benefit from advertising revenue during periodic events like the Olympics, as this TVNewsCheck article highlights.  It says that Gannett-owned stations expect a possible 50 percent boost over the Beijing summer Olympics in 2008.  The nugget in the story that caught my eye was a quote about more local businesses expressing interest in running commercials during Olympic games; we all know that multi-national companies like McDonald’s market heavily during the Olympics, but you might turn up an interesting feature by talking with small businesses that want to air their ads during the international competition.  How much more do these spots cost than their usual media buys and what is the anticipated upside?  Did they get special spots produced for the Olympics period or will they be running their usual commercials?

Don’t forget about  the realm of souvenirs and memorabilia; this interesting Tulsa World column about Olympics collectibles is easily localized by interviewing collectors, dealers and online sellers in your area.

About the Author

Veteran financial writer Melissa Preddy served as a business writer, editor and columnist for The Detroit News from 1995 to 2008, is a Michigan-based freelance journalist. She now works as a writer and editor for a medical research unit of the University of Michigan Medical School. Follow her daily posts. | E-mail: Melissa Preddy

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