Editor's Comment: Have you missed the 2012 boat?

Noelle McElhatton
Noelle McElhatton

What does 2012 mean to you? For most people, not just the marketing community, it has already become shorthand for the London Olympics. That shows you the power of this event.

Ticket fiasco aside, LOCOG can be pretty proud of its achievements. On the sponsorship front, it is well ahead of the game 12 months before the last torch-bearer arrives in the stadium. Whether these brands have activated their sponsorship effectively enough is another matter.

Yet, with exactly one year to go, where are those brands that haven't joined the Olympics race?

Some brands are, no doubt, adopting a 'wait-and-see' strategy - staying in the blocks until they observe what their rivals do and whether it has any traction with consumers.

You can forget hijacking the Olympics with some kind of guerilla, stunt or ambient activity, however. East London in 2012 is likely to have more sponsor-cops than the FIFA World Cup.

Given the volume of sponsors and marketing noise, some agencies are recommending putting energy into a different kind of event: internal comms (see our analysis, page 14). Capture all the buzz of the Games and share it with your employees, suppliers and partner businesses.

Alternatively, advises agency Arnold KLP, brands should not look at 2012 as being only about the Olympics, but rather as a year which, with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and Cultural Olympiad-related events also on the calendar, will offer an unparalleled positive public mood and, hence, brand opportunities outside the stadia.

It's worth remembering that, beyond the Olympic Village, not everyone is obsessed by sport. Any sport. Global and unique, the Olympic Games has much to offer brand-owners; but, if your brand is not in that leading pack of sponsors, it's far from the end of the world.

Noelle.McElhatton@haymarket.com

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