You don't need to be an official Olympics 2012 sponsor to ride the momentum of the games. In fact, some reports suggest that the right kind of creative--not necessarily sponsor status--is key to getting a huge audience for your brands during the world's biggest sporting celebration.
Some of the best creative moves surrounding the games come from those who haven't paid their way into the IOC's inner circle. There's a number of outright ambushes from brands who can't even come close to mentioning the "O" word, while others, like those from media outfits, are complementary celebrations to the games. Check out some of the most innovative work from non-sponsors of London 2012 below.Not that London, this London.
Both Nike and British bookmaker Paddy Power namecheck "London" to help promote their respective brands in 2012. Paddy Power has gotten into a legal tussle with the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games stemming from this in-your-face outdoor campaign touting the brand as an "official sponsor of the largest athletics event in London this year." But it's not the London you're thinking about.
Wieden + Kennedy's "Find Your Greatness" campaign features a series of spots showing that some of the best athletes are Londoners outside of the U.K. They were shot by director Lance Acord, of Park Pictures and, even without the Olympic seal of approval, bested the campaigns of sponsors like adidas and Visa.
Nike happens to be pretty notorious for its ambush strategies. Arguably, the brand took best prize for World Cup advertising with its award-winning Write the Future campaign, sans FIFA sponsorship, and it became famous for its ambush during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, which compelled the IOC to rethink its marketing guidelines for the game.
Gold We Can All Strive For
Missouri-based Bernstein-Rein just released a pair of YouTube films celebrating athletic underdogs going for the "gold," for Hostess. The iconic American snack brand has been through hard times, having declared its second bankruptcy in a decade in January. But this ambush effort, touting the brand as a "non-sponsor," is a real winner.
Games? What Games?
As a protest against the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic's strict marketing guidelines for non-sponsors, U.K. wine merchant Oddbins gives non-sponsors special clout by offering product discounts to consumers wearing clothing from brands who aren't official Olympic affiliates.
Minty Fresh Games
U.K. agency Lean Mean Fighting Machine came face to face with Olympics "Brand Enforcers" after enlisting team members Nat and Luke to create something around the games that would help make the shop famous. As a spec project for candy brand Polo, they came up with a unique device, Polo's London Underground Fresh Air Snorkel, designed to give tunnel riders minty Polo-tinged air while traveling to the games in the packed, claustrophobic trains. The Olympics heavies, however, weren't too happy, given the fact that Polo isn't an official sponsor.
Dutch agency Achtung and Volkswagen are not official Olympics sponsors, but are the official auto providers of the Dutch Olympic team. They showed their support for the athletes by devising a VW Up that runs on a special kind of fuel—the sound of cheers. The agency created a special "orange-motion" technology that allowed a VW Up to be powered by noise, so passengers could propel it with their hoots and hurrahs.
Media's Medal-Worthy Ideas
The Guardian continues its tradition of capturing world events in a whole new light with its fanciful coverage of the Olympic games. Earlier, it released a series of 8-bit games that let readers see how they match up to world-class competitors and more recently, it tapped its Flickr group of Lego builders to re-create Team U.S.A.'s win against Team France in basketball.
Broadcast/cable providers who give us access to the games have gone all-out with the creative. The BBC once again tapped director/animator Pete Candeland to create a magnificent intro to the games, in which all of London becomes one huge stadium. Candeland showed off his Olympic animation skills previously in a Monkey King-themed intro for the Beijing Games.
Meanwhile, DirecTV worked with U.S. Hispanic agency Wing on this hilarious promo that literally immerses the viewer in the thrill of competition.