Insider Advertising: The Olympic brand fallout may have only just begun

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Let’s jump in to this week’s news:

The Olympics begin – as does the brand damage control
What Netflix’s slowing user growth means for ads
Top marketing and ad salaries revealed

Rings of fire

The Olympic rings in Tokyo Bay.

The postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics are finally underway. But with COVID-19 infections rising – including among participating athletes – and stadiums closed off to spectators, what’s usually a feel-good tentpole event for advertisers has the potential to serve up more risk than reward. (It could even still be canceled.)

With some polls suggesting a majority of Japanese people – a nation that’s largely unvaccinated so far – are against the Olympics going ahead at all, the official global sponsor Toyota said this week that it was pulling all of its Olympic-themed TV commercials from rotation in Japan. Its execs are also skipping the opening ceremony.

Tim Crow, a sponsorship consultant who described the move as a masterclass in first-mover PR with marginal business impact. It’s a good look in Toyota’s home market to show the company has been listening. Plus, the company’s just being vocal about pulling back when other sponsors are probably making similar moves behind the scenes. (Coca-Cola on Wednesday said it wouldn’t be deploying any physical Olympic activations in Japan). Toyota also already happens to be the best-selling auto brand in Japan, with about a 50% market share.

“Toyota didn’t buy global Olympic sponsorship for the purpose of marketing in Japan,” Crow told me. “It bought global Olympic sponsorship to shut out competitors from the Olympics around the world and to use the Olympics as a strategic marketing vehicle in key countries – not least the US, which is in love with the Olympics.”

(No coincidence, then, that the US Olympic broadcaster NBCU confirmed Toyota hadn’t adjusted its TV ad plans stateside.)

It’s not just official sponsors watching the fast-moving Olympic developments through their fingers, with their other hand grasping the media plan. The retailer Mattress Firm is set to launch a big new campaign this week – with the debut spot running during the opening ceremony – in anticipation of a large live-TV audience.

The prospect for disruption has been top of mind since planning the push.

“It was a very complex set of work,” Mattress Firm’s chief marketing officer, Ramin Eivaz, told me. “As we looked at various scenarios, all we could do was develop a campaign that had the flexibility and elasticity to be able to be stretched in different places.”

As for the next marketing storylines to look out for during this year’s …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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