Time to keep cool as Olympics dampens PR spirits
It has been seven years in the planning, so this question is hardly new.
And it’s a question that has surely graced practically every client/agency catch-up meeting in the past few months: “What can we do to drive publicity and keep ourselves visible during the Olympics even though we’re not a sponsor?”
The short answer is not very much. Well you could, but the draconian dragonness of LOGOC and its brand rules have been well publicised, and most brands are staying well clear.
Of course the more adventurous ones may plan activity that runs the risk of straying into grey areas, or take the ambush approach. The challenge is, as with everything we do in PR to try to develop really creative content through which brands gain fame or tell their stories, that it all starts with an understanding of the audience. Your ability to be creative with content – and to overcome communications obstacles put in your way – is tied directly to the extent to which you understand the audience.
And in the case of the Great and Ballcrushingly-Restrictive Brand Commandments of LOCOG, most of the audience seems resigned to an Olympics when they won’t be hearing much about other brands, when the communications police will rule the roost, and when actually they’d rather hear from brands that don’t want to serve up some watered-down Olympics-inspired comms. Because they’d rather hear from brands that communciate about things other than the Olympics. Or even *shock* they might just want to actually watch the Olympics.
Don’t get me wrong, London 2012 will be an incredible spectacle and brands that are associated with it, either because of what they do or because they’ve paid for the privilege, are probably worthy of all reptuation gains.
But the others should think long and hard about whether dodging LOCOG’s probing gaze or getting arrested in order to intensify headlines is really worth it, or whether it’s better to keep cool and find another peg for storytelling. One that the audience is likely to appreciate more.