Skipping the Olympics ‘Not An Option’ For Many Advertisers

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The Olympics has long been an almost ideal forum for companies looking to promote themselves; many opportunities for brands to insert ads into the competition, and feel-good stories about athletes overcoming challenges – all for less than the price of a Super Bowl commercial.

But now, Olympic advertisers are concerned about the more than $1 billion spent advertising on the streaming platform NBC and Peacock, as nearly 11,000 contestants from more than 200 countries converge in Tokyo as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Calls to be canceled more 15.4 billion dollars The extravaganza intensified as more athletes tested positive for Covid-19. The event is also deeply unpopular Japanese citizens and many public health professionals, fearing a super emitter event. And no it will audience at the stands.

“The Olympics are already damaged goods,” said Jules Boykoff, a former Olympic football player and sports policy expert at the University of the Pacific. “If this situation in Japan moves south rapidly, we may see some rapid changes in the way deals are made and the willingness of multinationals to get involved.”

Panasonic, one of the top sponsors, will not send its CEO to the opening ceremony scheduled for Friday. Toyota is one of Japan’s most influential companies. coup He went to the Games on Monday when he said he was abandoning plans to air Olympic-themed television commercials in Japan.

Marketing plans in the United States mostly move forward.

for paying NBCUniversal millions of dollars For the exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics in the United States until 2032, the event is a crucial source of income. There are over 140 sponsors for NBC’s televised coverage. annual streaming platform Peacock and online, an increase of over 100 signed for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“For some of our premium advertisers, not being there with an audience of this size and scale is not an option,” said Jeremy Carey, general manager of sports marketing agency Optimum Sports.

In Michelob Ultra In the ad, sprint star Usain Bolt points runners at a bar. Procter and Gamble‘s campaign highlights better athletes and their families. Sue Bird, a basketball star, promotes fitness equipment manufacturer Tonal at one point He’s out on Friday.

Chris Brandt, Chipotle’s chief marketing officer, said the situation wasn’t “ideal” but the company still had a campaign Containing profiles of Olympic athletes.

“We think people will continue to watch, even without the fans, as with any other sport,” Brandt said. “There will be a dwindling factor in terms of excitement, but we also hope the Olympics will be somewhat unifying at a time when the country seems so divided every day.”

NBCUniversal added that it has surpassed $1.2 billion in US advertising revenue for the 2016 Games in Rio, selling all ad space for Friday’s opening ceremony and still offering space for the remainder of the Games. Buyers estimate the price of the 30-second prime time ad to exceed $1 million.

According to Kantar, television attracts the majority of advertising spending, but the amount brought by digital and streaming ads is increasing. Various estimates suggest that TV ratings for the Olympics will lag behind the Games in Rio and London, while streaming audience grow sharp.

NBCUniversal said Peacock has received a $500 million commitment for next year during so-called pre-negotiation sessions this year, during which ad buyers have booked space with media companies.

“You won’t find a single legacy media company out there that hasn’t pushed their streaming capabilities for their biggest events,” said Optimum Sports executive Mr. “This is the future of where this business is going.”

United Airlines, sponsor of Team USA, has shelved its original ad campaign promoting flights from the United States to Tokyo. Her new effort, featuring gymnast Simon Biles and surfer Kolohe Andino, promotes a broader return to air travel.

“It didn’t make much sense to focus on a specific destination that Americans couldn’t travel to,” said Maggie Schmerin, the airline’s general manager of advertising and social media.

United’s campaign will appear at airports, social media and broadcast platforms including Peacock, but not on TV. Ms Schmerin said the airline wanted to “match customers where they are, based on their viewing habits”.

Advertising agency executives said companies regularly check for updates on the Covid outbreak in Japan and can fine-tune their marketing messages accordingly.

“Everyone is a little cautious,” said David Droga, founder of the Droga5 ad agency, which is working on an Olympics campaign for Facebook. show off skateboarders. “People are pretty fragile right now. Advertisers don’t want to be too sweet or too clever, but they’re trying to find the right tone.”

Many companies that advertise during the Games run campaigns that they had to redesign from the ground up after the Olympics were postponed last year.

“We planned it twice,” said Mr Carey of Optimum Sports. “Imagine how much the world has changed in that one year and how much each of our brands has changed what they wanted to say, do or sponsor there. So we crumpled up and started over.”

Lynne Biggar, the company’s head of global marketing, said Visa, the sponsor, will not hold promotional meetings and client meetings in Tokyo and will not send any senior executives. The company’s advertisement at the inauguration ceremony begins with a football game before showing that Visa is used in transactions around the world.

The company said NBCUniversal’s sports calendar also includes February’s Super Bowl, when 85 percent of ad spaces were sold or discussed. Also on the roster: FIFA World Cup in Qatar in late 2022 and Beijing Winter Olympics In February, both of which put the advertising industry in a difficult position due to poor human rights records by China and Qatar.

First, ad executives want the Tokyo Games to proceed without incident.

“We’ve been dealing with these Covid updates every day since last March,” said Kevin Collins, executive director of ad buying and media intelligence firm Magna. “I’m looking forward to them getting started.”

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