Olympics – It is not too late to get in the race!

2012 London Olympics As the 2012 Games draws closer and the world is set to talk about London and the UK, non-official sponsors still have plenty of opportunities to capitalise on the landmark event.

With the countdown clock ticking for London 2012 Olympic Games, brands that have signed up as official sponsors are certainly reaping the benefits of their investment. Non-sponsor brands trying to catch hold of the Olympic fever can still find ways to stand out without suffering the awful affects of the strict enforcement of sponsors’ rights.

Due to the multicultural crowd enjoyed by the Olympics, almost every industry will have the chance to create marketing tactics and target one or several sectors of the public audience. However, with the stringent measures to protect official sponsors and the increase on location costs near the Olympic venues, brands are required to think and develop a cautious and strategic plan before even attempting to execute or promote any type of campaign.

The Guardian’s writer Esther Addley discusses some of the dos and don’ts of LOCOG’s restrictions in her article about the Olympics’ ‘branding police’. According to Chris Moriarty of CIM, “non-sponsoring brands are being forced to seek expensive legal advice on how to stay just the right side of the line”. Although there is good reason for the regulations to exist, no one can really predict the impact of these once the Olympic Games start on the 27 July.

Even with the most severe restrictions, brands ought to be aware that the cluttered Olympic arenas and venues may not present the best opportunity to engage with consumers. If you want to create credibility and stand out from the crowd, you need to look carefully at understanding the consumer journey and know how to make the right choices to suit your brand.

What can you do?


A big part of the Olympics excitement is the thrill of the unexpected. While most brands will have already planned their strategies, others are still unsure on how they can take advantage of the Olympic setting this summer. If you are thinking that you might be too late, there is still time to get your brand in the race.

With world record breaking performances to be seen and massive crowds out and about, there will be plenty of opportunities to create engaging experiential campaigns and add to the vibrant Olympic atmosphere. People will be getting involved in many local events across the country and herein lies the opportunity for your brand to support these activities and celebrate the cheer with them. Creating an experience that will engage people in a unique, memorable and relevant manner will have much to add to their experience and their memory of your brand.

It is important, however, to be realistic about your expectations. With so many brands focused on key footfall areas in London and other various sites across the UK, you need to offer consumers something extremely remarkable and creative or you might face the risk of adding to the clutter.

What you need to know legally


Olympic organisers will work hard to protect sponsors’ investments with support of an ‘ambush police’, and by establishing exclusive marketing zones within a set distance of the venues. From marketing messages suggesting any sign of infringement to LOCOG’s rules, to monitoring of social networks, brands will have to be familiar with the Olympic marketing guidelines before undertaking any kind of activity.

As Addley’s article highlighted, brands such as Marks and Spencer and Nike have found creative ways to win consumers’ attention during the Olympics period. Nike’s most recent campaign ‘Make it Count’, featuring former Olympians such as Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah, has proved to be a greater success than official sponsor Adidas. Although Nike is not breaking any rules, it is becoming increasingly unfortunate for the legitimate sponsor Adidas to accept its rival Nike as a more associated brand to the Games.

Although LOCOG is heavily trying to protect the exclusive rights of official sponsors to engage with the Olympic crowds, the good news is that you don’t have to be in the Olympic Village to make an impact. The whole country will be gripped by the Olympic fever and apart from the restricted Olympic zones, there will be plenty of high footfall areas where you can activate your experiential campaign.

London Olympic Venues

Hotcow will get you in the race and not leave you exposed


Careful planning, face to face engagement and sustained online activity are key to making the most of the London 2012 Olympics. Hotcow can help your brand break through the clutter and stand out during the Games. For more information, contact us.


Hotcow is a multi-award winning Experiential Marketing agency. We get brands in front of consumers in ways that persuade them to buy. We fully implement our ideas; nothing needs to be farmed out. For more information or free consultation, contact us.

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