Branding clampdown hands non-sponsors Olympic-sized online marketing boost
Can this be a surprise? The seemingly draconian way that Locog is attempting to protect the rights of Olympic sponsors appears to be backfiring and is diverting traffic and attention to their fiercest rivals, according to data from Experian.
UK traffic to the websites of non-sponsors Pepsi and Nike had been declining in volume in the lead up to the games, while those of London 2012 Partners Adidas and Coca-Cola saw substantial rises.
However, the trend reversed this weekend following widespread reporting that the brand clampdown could mean that visitors to the games who displayed the logos of non-sponsor firms could be barred from entry.
That has led to other brands poking fun at Locog. Yesterday we read about Oddbins’ launching an anti-Locog stunt to offer discounts to those wearing Nike trainers. The boss of Oddbins has attacked the “asinine rules” on mentioning the Olympics in marketing and has introduced a 30% discount for customers who wear or display a total of eight items from non-sponsor brands, including Nike and Pepsi.
Experian said that visits to Pepsi.co.uk rocketed 53% on Sunday after declining 30% in the five weeks to the 21st July, while on the same day traffic to Coca-Cola’s corporate site fell by 69%.
Showing a similar trend, web traffic to Nike.com, which had fallen 1% in the previous five weeks, saw a 16% increase in traffic on Sunday while Adidas.co.uk experienced a 20% fall in visitor numbers.
Robin Goad, research director at Experian, said: “We expected guerrilla marketing tactics to influence web traffic throughout the games, but widespread coverage relating to the policing of non-sponsors has had the unintentional effect of helping to raise Pepsi and Nike’s profile before the games have even started.”
Locog is attempting to control all aspects of branding around the games including ambush marketing online, which has led to weeks of talks with Twitter. However, it is uncertain as to whether the two have reached agreement about the enforcement of digital advertising guidelines during the Olympic Games. Then there is the question as to how successful any online enforcement will be.
Some brands, however, are almost certain to try and capitalise in the interest surrounding the games with online activity, which will be at an all time high for the world’s first ‘social Olympics’.
Locog is currently enforcing an Olympic advertising ‘blackout’, from 18 July until 15 August, is designed to protect sponsors.
This has forced brands such as Colgate, Sky, Subway and British Gas among others to cease using marketing material featuring their athletic brand ambassadors. Locog’s ‘Rule 40′ prohibits competing athletes from ‘appearing in advertising during and shortly before the Olympic Games’.
Subway, for instance, has said it will be ‘taking down’ its current campaign featuring pole-vaulter Holly Bleasdale and boxer Anthony Ogogo. Sky is currently running a campaign involving champion cyclist Chris Hoy and British Gas is to tweak its current swimming promotion featuring Team GB swimmers Rebecca Adlington and Keri-Anne Payne.