Passing the Olympic Torch to Non-Sponsors

Many in Ad Industry Aren't Waiting for the Games to End to Get Back to Business

By Published on .

Chien Hwang
Chien Hwang
I have to confess, I'm still trying to find my place in the 2008 Olympic Games. In one sense, I can't believe that, at the end of the day, I'm just another spectator on 08-08-08-8:08 -- the exact starting time of the Summer Olympics.

Yes, I have tickets to some cool events -- basketball (U.S. vs. China, a really hot ticket), beach volleyball, athletics and soccer. [Ed note: One of our other bloggers has only been able to score tickets for Croatian handball so far; he'll tell you about that later.]

Yes, I see on a daily basis all the corny billboards, the fancy new buildings, the smiling faces, the flags, the Fuwas, etc. All that stuff you see on CNN? I'm living it. However, for those of us working in an ad agency that works with two official sponsors, Adidas and McDonald's, the games may as well be over. As the rest of the world shifts into Olympic overdrive, we've starting looking at life after the games. We're knee-deep in concept and production for 2009.

There's a good reason for this. The last few months have been fun and exciting for people working campaigns for Olympic sponsors. But most of the other guys, the ones who work for companies or clients who aren't sponsors, and therefore aren't allowed to advertise in Beijing right now, they suddenly have to work hard. A lot of non-sponsors can't wait to hit the ground running next month, when we're all working on a level playing field again. So I have to squeeze my visits to Olympic events between three major presentations during the next three weeks.

Who's having fun this month? The marketers, event organizers and media guys who work for the big sponsors. They're hanging out in cool pavilions, holding press conferences and walking around the city in those official Olympic shirts with those large shining credentials around their necks. They act like they own the city. And for these two and a half weeks, they do.
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