Riding The Rio Wave: Planning Your Olympics 2016 Marketing Campaign
by John Waldron last updated on 0

Riding The Rio Wave: Planning Your Olympics 2016 Marketing Campaign

It almost feels as if I’m talking about Christmas in September as I start to write this post – but, just as with our winter marketing campaigns, the better prepared we are, the better results we’re likely to achieve.

And so, there are precisely 72 days left (on date of publication) to prepare our marketing campaigns for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Summer Olympic Games that will last from the 5th until the 21st August this year.

Are you ready?


No, I’m not either – but let’s at least start our training now in earnest ready to get on our marks and go when the starting pistol fires in a little over 3 months’ time.


Key Strategies

From a content marketer’s perspective, an event such as the Rio Olympics means that we can get a lot prepared ahead of time. For one thing, we already know two of the main hashtags – #Rio2016 and #RioOlympics2016. Indeed, we can also be pretty sure that some of the more time-constrained tweeters will probably just be punching in #Olympics as well.

In addition, in the (if you’ll forgive the pun) run up to the Games, there is of course the matter of the #OlympicFlame, which will of course provide many opportunities along its travels to target local areas as the flame passes through.

Being able to predict trending hashtags is the secret behind hashtag marketing. This means that you can start creating right now a whole load of #RioOlympics2016 themed content, and, when the Games begin (and even beforehand) you can legitimately jump on the back of these predictable social media trends and drive a ton of traffic to your website.


The Olympic Flame

Let’s drill down a little further into some specific areas of your Olympic campaign, starting with the flame.

I’m going to do  some research here so you don’t have to. By now, the flame is already in Brazil, and the route it is taking is revealed in this delightful little animation from the Rio Olympic Games 2016 YouTube channel.

If you head over to Twitter you’ll see that there is already lots and lots of excitement about the Torch Relay – and that means that there’s already lots and lots of opportunity to start making your presence known amongst its followers. And I have to say that as yet there aren’t a lot of brands (I can’t find any at the moment in fact) that have jumped on the back of the #OlympicFlame hashtag.

So how could you do it? Well, there’s always the opportunity to host a competition. Off the top of my head, let’s say you’re in the business of selling sports drinks (or clothes or jewellery or footballs or whatever) – why not try and (pun alert!) spark up an #OlympicFlame selfie competition. All people have to do is post a selfie to Twitter using the #OlympicFlame hashtag and @YourCompanyName handle. The photos must capture the flame, the person, and the sports drink/t-shirt/jewellery/football/whatever, and every day (or week) you give away a prize.

D’you think it could work? I’m going to be following the Flame now with a keen eye to see if anyone is giving it a try.

Don’t sell a product? No worries – if you’re offering a service then there’s still opportunity to hijack the #OlympicFlame, especially if it’s an around-the-clock service. Just think in terms of that other facet/hashtag that makes the Olympic Flame special (though it could just as easily be used to describe my social life) – #NeverGoesOut.

There’s heaps of opportunity within that hashtag/tagline to create a ‘Never Goes Out’ campaign. My goodness, it’s the sort of strapline that could used to peddle everything from internet services to solar powered light bulbs – and during the Torch Relay (i.e. now) is the perfect time to (here he goes again!) ignite such a campaign.


The Games

This year there are 42 Olympic sports taking place across 306 events over the course of 19 days of competition. The Games will yield 136 medals for women, 161 for men (they really should even this up – it’s 2016!!) and 9 mixed medals.

Wow – so, as far as hashtag marketing goes, there’s oodles of opportunity to craft content that will coincide with everything from #Archery to #Wrestling.


(Image source: rio2016.com)


New Sports For 2016

New sports, of course, always benefit from media attention, and this year there’re three – Kitesurfing, Golf and Rugby. Once again, we can reliably predict that these sports will be trending when the world is watching them live.

But aside from hijacking hashtags, what else can marketers do to ride the Rio wave this year?

Well, if one thing’s for sure it’s that the Olympics is a celebration of sporting competitiveness – and so hosting Olympic- or Rio- or Brazilian-themed competitions is one sure fire way of helping your followers get into the spirit of the Games at the same time as making your brand memorable, and of course this presents a great opportunity for giving away some cool free stuff to lucky winners.


Host An Event

Since the Opening Ceremony is still over three months away, we’re blessed with plenty of time to organise even bigger smashes – so why not start planning a Rio Olympics inspired event?

There will be plenty of the bigger brands out there who will be staging such things, I have no doubt – but there’s no reason why SMEs can’t make this work for them either.

The opportunities are only limited by your imagination – if you host an event in your premises, you could try and invent some sort of Table Top Olympic Games, taking the likes of Subbuteo and Tech Decks (you know, those mini skateboards that you control with your fingers) for inspiration. Just think how you can shrink events down.

Boxing could be Thumb Wars, for instance. You could flick cocktail sticks and call it the Javelin. There are also those mini table tennis sets that you can get.

Alternatively, you could just set a big screen up somewhere and invite lots of people along to watch the Olympic action together whilst you showcase your wares on the side lines and have all your employees wearing branded t-shirts.

Put simply, there’s pretty much no limit to how you can exploit the excitement of the Olympics to hype up awareness of your brand – all you need is some imagination and time. At the moment, you’ve got oodles of both, so let’s start getting our marketing brains ticking now so we’ve got something really cool to offer the Olympic fans in August.

You know the likes of McDonald’s are going to griddling up ‘Olympian Burgers’ or what have you – and so if junk food brands can piggyback excitement surrounding elite health and athleticism, so can you!

Become a GetResponse Blog writer!

Write for us