London Calling: Summer Olympics Begging for Marketing


Dan Vs. Dave = Dud

Summer Olympics send my family aflutter – not just to watch strangers compete for glory, but because my uncle is usually there.  Jeff Huber, Indiana diving coach and 11-time National Coach of the Year, is seeking his fourth and possibly final coaching bid at the 2012 London Olympics.

But who is the rest of the country getting excited for? Marketing hasn’t told us yet.  America’s modern branding campaigns build the popularity of the Olympians who will boost sales, all while instilling sentiments of patriotism, bravery and triumph into our hearts.

So far, not much ad buzz for London 2012.  With an event plagued early with controversies over security, bribery – the measles (!) – marketers are still seeking a gold medal movement. And they’ll surely capitalize on this being the “First Social Games,” thanks to the prevalence social media will have amongst athletes, sponsors and fans.

Will branding campaigns rally behind the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, who narrowly lost the World Cup after last year’s captivating competition?  Call me biased as a big fan, but I hope so.

In 1988, Coca-Cola’s Olympic campaign featured athletes forging international friendships over glasses of Coca-Cola Classic before the Calgary Winter games.  Reebok’s 1992 “Dan & Dave” effort, meant to stir excitement for competition between American decathletes at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, aired as early as the SuperBowl (O’Brien later failed to qualify).  And who could forget the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, when the build-up to Michael Phelps’ races sent us cheering in our living rooms when he blasted away medal records.

Kellogg’s, Budweiser and other brands have latched on to the games’ popularity by plastering past and present Olympians on their products.  But aside from these, and NBC’s ads  begging encouraging viewers to watch, the marketing buzz has not made much of a splash.

While we await for the marketing-appointed heroes to rise, let’s join the London Olympics 2012 Twitter page and wait to be wow-ed.  I’ll quietly hold out for one long-shot bet – my uncle Jeff.


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