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How to Win the Winter Marketing Games

Between awards season, Super Bowl LII, and the Winter Olympics, 2018 has already been a major advertising opportunity for big brands. Given the worldwide popularity of these events, companies are given the chance to boost their reach on a global scale. For many businesses, the Olympics has provided a global platform and the opportunity to associate their brand with one of the few uniting forces in the world: sports.

Although the Olympic Games presents huge opportunities for even the smallest company, there are some factors to consider when launching a marketing campaign tied to this event.

Ski Jump Over Social Issues

The Olympics bring together countries from all around the world, so it is best to present content that does the same. Rather than taking a stance on social issues, many companies choose to reinforce the unifying nature of the Olympic Games and place emphasis on the idea that their products or services are geared towards all individuals. Samsung, Coca-Cola, and Bridgestone are a few companies that have taken a similar approach in 2018. For example, Samsung’s “Do What You Can’t” campaign is geared toward those who face challenges in accomplishing their goals and offering the motivation to prevail. If you’re connecting your marketing to the Olympics, be sure to focus on connections and unity.

Luge Away From the Logo

While many businesses like to support the athletes from their respective countries, there is a fine line between showing patriotism and asking for a lawsuit. Unless a company is an official sponsor of events such as the Super Bowl and the Olympics, there are rules that prevent these businesses from using hashtags that are officially branded by the United States Olympic Committee or using the official logo. Known as “Rule 40,” these rules are intended to maintain the exclusivity that comes with being an official sponsor of an event with this level of exposure. If you still wish to show support for a given country, opt for the colors of their respective flag. For example, support of American athletes can be shown through red, white, and blue text or an American flag emoji.

Slalom through Social Media

While marketing efforts must be carefully crafted during these major events, it is still a great social media marketing opportunity, and businesses can and should take advantage. There are ways that your business can show support without stepping on the toes of the USOC. Just as the Super Bowl is often referred to as the “Big Game,” an indirect reference to the Olympics can still display patriotism and support for your respective home team. Just avoid branded content and direct mention of any specific athlete, as dictated by Rule 40. Adweek has provided a list of off-limits hashtags, including:

  • Olympic
  • Olympian
  • Team USA
  • Future Olympian
  • Gateway to gold
  • Go for the gold
  • Let the games begin
  • Paralympic
  • Pan Am Games
  • Olympiad
  • Paralympiad
  • Pan-American

In addition to these words, references to the location of the games are also off-limits, such as “Road to Pyeongchang” or “Pyeongchang 2018.”

Planet Fitness has recently received praise for their witty Olympic advertising campaign. The gym franchise highlights “everyday Olympians,” or residents of Olympia, Washington who are devoted to their fitness regime. Check out their commercial for an example of how to safely navigate the USOC regulations.

The rules laid out by the USOC are typically aimed at businesses, so if you can’t resist the urge to live-tweet your favorite event simply switch over to your personal account and hashtag away! The Olympics run through February 25, so be sure to tune in and show your support for your favorite teams and athletes. Just choose your #hashtags wisely!