When Christopher Carroll joined the International Olympic Committee as its marketing and digital engagement and director late last year, he figured he did not have much time to get ready for the Tokyo games—and undertook what he describes as a “speedy onboarding.” As it turned out, Carroll had more time than he originally thought after the IOC made the decision in late March to delay the Summer Olympics by a year in response to the coronavirus.
But Carroll did not take a break. Instead, the IOC launched several campaigns meant to keep the games top of mind with fans and sponsors until the opening ceremonies on July 23, 2021. “We were confronted with the reality of we need to speak to people now, we need to engage with people now, right here...that gave birth, for us, to do real-time marketing,” Carroll says.
Carroll, who joined IOC after holding marketing roles at Under Armor, Heineken and Coca-Cola Co., discusses the organization’s latest moves on the newest edition of Ad Age’s Ad Lib podcast. Earlier this week, on the one-year-to-go mark for the games—which are still called Tokyo 2020—the IOC launched a campaign called “Stronger Together.” It uses a unifying message at a time when the world is divided, both politically and physically, with global travel still at a near-standstill during the pandemic.