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Eureka: Tips to advertise the Pyeonchang olympics Eureka: Tips to advertise the Pyeonchang olympics
by Akli Hadid
2017-12-29 08:56:04
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Rio advertised the olympics, and the city of Rio was just a footnote. Sochi advertised the winter olympics, and Russia or Sochi were just a footnote. London advertised the olympics, and London was just a footnote. Same goes for Vancouver, Beijing, Torino, Athens, Salt Lake city. They were not diverting the attention from the olympics to advertise Canada, China, Italy, Greece or the state of Utah. So why are Pyeongchang olymics advertisers diverting the attention from the olympic games and sports to advertise Korea and the province of Gangwon? When you advertise an e-sports competition, you don't advertise computers, desktops or screens, you advertise e-sports champions and e-sports games.

pyon01_400Now let's focus where the advertising efforts should go. You have an Olympic tradition. You have different sports, each with stars in their categories, who compete for medals. Each sport has their stars and each country has their stars. People who visit the Olympic games either want to cheer for their stars, for their country to win medals or for their sport.

Let's look at consumer behavior. Olympics visitors are given timetables of the events with the names of and countries of competitors. Visitors choose the sports they will visit and choose the athletes they will cheer for. Some like the curling, others the speedskating, others the figure skating, others the snowboarding and others the alpine skiing, ski jumping or boblsled.

Sometimes the star of the games is an outsider who does great efforts. That was the case of the Jamaican bobsled team in Calgary in 1988. Sometimes it's the figure skates, sometimes it's the speedskaters and sometimes it's the ice hockey teams. Some visitors want to check out one sport, others are passionate about several sports, others are passionate about their country winning medals. Unfortunately Olympic tourism tends to have very little to do with the host country.

Winter sports have their fans around the world, mostly in North America, Europe and East Asia. Some never miss the Olympics, especially people in their teens and twenties. They were in Sochi, they were in Vancouver, they were in Torino, some of them even went as far back as Salt Lake City and Nagano. To them, the host nation has as little importance as the name of a bar a group of bar hoppers go to.

In its advertising campaigns, the Pyeongchang committee neglected the sports as much as a bar would neglect the drinks or a restaurant the food. When you host a party, you don't advertise yourself, you advertise the party and the people who are coming. When you advertise the Olympics, you advertise the sports, the heroism, the competion, former medal winners, former breathtaking competitions and promise people they will find the same thing in Pyeongchang. You don't advertise kimchi, taekwondo and Korean unification. That's like advertising a bar for its host rather than for its drinks and patrons.

Now I worked at several Korean companies and universities. At Korean universities, we tended to advertise the university so much we tended to forget universities were about education, quality education at that. At Korean companies we advertised the brand so much we tended to forget about the products we were making, and their quality at that. Kind of reminds me of a McDonald's ad in France after demonstrations against the brand. The ad was promoting the fact that McDonald's was helping create jobs, give employees work experience and give franchisees a purpose in life. Needless to say the ad only made matters worse, and it was only a matter of days before the brand started advertising sports celebrities eating Big Macs and fries.

Here are a few mistakes the Korean organizers are doing. First, in the run-up to the Olympics, the organizers are not promoting the sports that are in season. They are no broadcasting sports results in the run-up to the Olympics. The media is not creating or helping create winter sports stars that will attract people to the Olympics. This has not been done in the last four years. It should have been done.

Second, there have been no campaigns regarding the best winter Olympic moments of the past. There have been little or no reruns of past Olympic heroic moments. There have been few documentaries on the best moments in Olympic history. Past winter Olympic moments have not been celebrated.

Third, Olympic tourism is a special kind of tourism. As I said people get the schedule and start hopping around Olympic events hoping their countries will win medals. The advertising campaign has been run like a traditional tourism campaign. The Maldives has great tourism campaigns, but if the summer Olympics were held in the Maldives, the country would do well to separate sandy beaches from Olympic sports. Otherwise people will skip the Olympics and move the the beaches, which is not good for the Olympics. Now you don't want people too busy visiting Seoul's shopping centers to skip Pyeongchang altogether.


     
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