With the recent onslaught of emotional background videos of athletes overcoming the odds, one thing is clear: The Olympics are coming!
Our televisions and social media pages are already being flooded with ads featuring our star American athletes and great Olympic moments. This year, prepare to see more advertising than ever before.
A recent change regarding advertising at the Olympic Games gives many brands an opportunity that may have been previously out of reach in previous years. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is now allowing brands that are not official Olympic Games sponsors the opportunity to feature athletes they individually sponsor in their marketing content.
In the past, Olympic athletes were barred from being featured or even tweeting about non-official sponsors. Last February, the IOC made changes to allow athletes to appear in generic advertising that does not explicitly mention the games or use any Olympic intellectual property (the rings, the terms “Olympics”, “Rio”, etc.). However, in order to take advantage of this opportunity, U.S. athletes and brands had to submit waivers which included advertising plans and social media campaigns for the games by March 27th.
While these requirements appear to have been a major coup for a brand like Under Armour (who sponsors 250 Olympians, including Michael Phelps), some feel that the rule is too restrictive for smaller and more budget-conscious companies.
While some applaud the changes as a way to continue existing partnerships with athletes without paying for an official sponsorship, others feel that the new rules could diminish the value of the official Olympic sponsorships.
Whatever way you look at it, it’s an every-two-years refreshing way to get Brand Messaging across, and viewers can’t help but smile seeing these athletes share the same love for brands they use themselves. Can we run or swim miles in a matter of minutes? Keep our balance during flips and splits? Probably not. But you know what? We can do laundry, wear workout gear, and use a credit card JUST like them.