Dear Colleagues:

This issue of Marketing Coach looks at the Winter Olympics in Sochi with information about viewing for all of us who just love the competition and entertainment, as well as from a branding and PR perspective.

Enjoy...and let the games begin!

In This Issue
The Games Begin February 7th
Host Country: Brand Russia
Sochi is Social!#SM
(As Usual) Brands are Mobilizing PR to Leverage These Olympics
Get Your Company Involved

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The Games Begin February 7th

It's almost here! Tune in Friday, February 7th for the Opening Ceremony on NBC at 7:30 pm eastern. The four hour event won't be live streamed, as the hosts will need to provide descriptions and commentary so the U.S. and international audiences outside of Russia will understand what is taking place.
Variety's Brian Steinberg writes that "keeping the opening ceremonies for TV broadcast only is likely to ensure a higher rating for the broadcast." Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira and Bob Costas are slated to host the event, along with New Yorker editor David Remnick, who has been hired as a special correspondent for the NBCU Olympics broadcasts.

The Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony takes place at Fisht Stadium in Sochi with a program that will consist of four parts: music, dancing (ballet, historical, national and modern dances), circus art and multi-genre cultural projects. Viewers will take a journey through Russian history in culture, nature and science. The diversity and size of Russia will be represented by a variety of famous historical figures such as Tsar Peter the Great, and natural landmarks, including Mount Elbrus in the North Caucasus, the White Sea in the Arctic, the Ural Mountains and Lake Baikal. Iconic Russian avant-garde architecture and art will also play a role.

Sochi will mark the first time NBC will start prime time coverage before the Opening Ceremony, and while the Opening Ceremony will not be live streamed, this game will receive the most U.S. coverage of any Winter Olympics with NBC airing with more than 1,539 hours of coverage. BBC will air nearly 1,200 hours of coverage with 200 hours of network TV coverage and over 650 hours of live action via six HD streams.

The Games end with the closing ceremony on February 23rd.

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Host Country: Brand Russia

As with every Olympics, the host country uses this opportunity to build its reputation on the world stage. Russia has steadily responded to early challenges around security problems and negative publicity about its human rights positions, particularly with respect to gay rights, with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stepping into the spotlight by personally testing the Olympic venue ski slopes and being serenaded by a children's choir.

The Russian brand will be depicted at these Olympics in many ways. For example, on each of the Sochi medals the inner "Patchwork Quilt" is a mosaic of cultural designs from the Russian Federation. Russia's clasic matryoshka or nesting doll has been chosen as a souvenir for the Sochi Winter Olympics.

To demonstrate the enthusiasm and commitment to the Games and fitness, instead of paying for a subway ticket, the people of Moscow can do 30 squats and earn a ticket. You can see the subway fare system and squatting commuters in action.

The Olympic Flame torch will travel 40,300 miles on its way to Sochi, the longest journey for the torch ever. Among its means of travel is a Russian troyka (a sleigh pulled by reindeer). And to showcase Russia's space program, on November 9, 2013 two Russian cosmonauts performed the first ever spacewalk with the torch.

The Sochi Olympics are promising to be the most expensive games in the history of the movement, with a price tag surpassing even that of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. According to the latest estimate, it will cost Russia and private sponsors $50 billion. (For comparison Vancouver spent $8.2 billion for the last Winter Olympics!)

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Sochi is Social!#SM

Fans are getting used to the prominence of social media during the Olympics. While photos will no doubt flood Instagram and Pinterest, here are some useful tools to help you engage with #SM during the Winter Olympics at #Sochi2014. Other popular hashtags leading up to the event are: #RoadToSochi #GoTeamUSA #RaiseYourHands


Twitter Handles and Facebook Pages

* NBC - @NBC_GoldZone and @NBCOlympics
* The Olympic Games - @Olympics
* - @sochi2014
* US Ski Team - @usskiteam
* US Figure Skating - @USFigureSkating
* US Snowboard Team - @ussnowboarding
* US Bobsled Team - #sliding2sochi (No separate site or Facebook)

To join the Twitter madness with your favorite American athletes, check out this comprehensive list of individual athletes' Twitter handles. Sorry to our readers around the world...this was a one-stop US-centric information source. Feel free to share other websites with full lists of social media addresses for athletes from your teams around the world and we'll share them.

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(As Usual) Brands are Mobilizing PR to Leverage These Olympics

Brands with marketing campaigns tied to the Winter Olympics range from Nike, VISA and Kellogg's to Citibank, Gillette, Coca-Cola and Chobani to Kashi, Bounty and Cover Girl. Here are a few examples of the campaigns that marketers have created to generate excitement and consumer engagement during these games:

  • The U.S. Olympic Committee kicked-off a 100-Day Countdown campaign featuring Team USA in Times Square in New York. Participating sponsors, including Coca-Cola and Kellogg's, enticed fans to simulate winter-action sports such as snowboarding and skiing, while J.M. Smucker and Chobani handed out product samples.
  • P&G is expecting a more than $150 million sales lift from their sponsorship. They're building on past success with their "Thank You Mom" campaign, as with the "Pick Them Back Up" series of commercials.
  • As part of its ongoing commitment to children's well-being, McDonald's is bringing back its Champions of Play initiative, which will bring together children from the host nation Russia, and from several other countries including Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Switzerland and Germany, for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the Games first-hand in Sochi.
  • Visa is conducting a contest. If you use your card from Jan. 1- Feb. 28 you could win a trip to the Winter Olympic Games for life.
  • Samsung Electronics introduced innovative ways to collaborate with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the "Samsung Smart Olympic Games" initiative to make the Sochi event the most wireless, seamless and paperless Olympic Games ever and to engage fans worldwide

It appears that non-Olympic partners have also implemented successful marketing strategies to associate with the Sochi Olympics and some are actually more associated with the Games than many official sponsors.

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Get Your Company Involved

It's not too late! You can still associate your brand with the Winter Olympics. Unless you are looking to make a major sponsorship or advertising commitment, which requires that you contact the Olympics organizers or media partners, here's how you can get involved:

  • Participate in Olympic-related social media conversations to make sales offers
  • Hold Olympic competition viewing parties for clients or employees
  • Sponsor and support any local athletes
  • Get involved with national sports leagues or local teams in events held at the Winter Olympics
  • Hold employee contests tied to Olympic sports or Olympic competitions
  • Find out how to approach the Olympics for official sponsorship opportunities
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