Olympics’ media strategy a win, execs say

It was a cross-platform media event unlike anything Canada has seen before, and it was a winning formula, media agency execs say.

As coast-to-coast parties exploded in the streets last night after Canada’s epic gold-medal hockey win, there remained little doubt that the Olympics have been a hit with Canadians across the country. In fact, a survey released today from interactive design and digital agency Delvinia’s Asking Canadians panel indicated that 72.5% of Canadians believe the coverage of the Games was executed well.

From a media strategy perspective, it also delivered the goods, execs from some of Canada’s biggest media agencies say.

‘Overall, the Olympic coverage offered strong multimedia touchpoints throughout the entire games, which gave Canadians the ability to keep the games top of mind, which helped revolutionize the way we consume media,’ Todd Paterson, investment director, Starcom, tells MiC.

‘As the Consortium was securing its Olympic sponsors a little more than a year ago, marketers were truly in an uncertain economic arena, on top of the fact that CTV hadn’t done the Olympics in more than 10 years. No one could predict what to expect. Looking back, the economy has taken an uptick, and the coverage of the Games has truly been elevated. Though it’s too early to conclude, it’s a safe bet that the strength of the viewership [and] the support of Canadians have allowed Olympic sponsors to take the gold on these events.’

Kim Dougherty, director, national broadcast investments, OMD, agrees, saying that although the packages offered up by the Consortium in the beginning were jaw-dropping in terms of price, the packages that were finally negotiated fully delivered on value.

‘I thought it was amazing,’ she says. ‘The audience numbers have done extremely well, and any client fortunate enough to be in the Olympics – because not everybody can – really benefited. I think that the value they received was far beyond anything anybody’s expectations.’

Two things Dougherty thought were particularly well executed were the sponsored features built into the broadcast – OMD client GE sponsored a sports-physiology segment called Super Bodies – and the way in which the Consortium continually kept viewers abreast of what was running on the other channels in its roster with on-air teasers. ‘They prompted us to look at everything they wanted us to look at,’ she says. ‘And you know what? We did.’

From a value perspective, the placement of features and ads delivered, she explains. The features were placed as close to the sports or athletes performances that they featured, a strategy she not only noticed with Super Bodies, but with RBC’s campaign (handled by M2) as well, which she called out for doing a ‘bloody fantastic job.’ CTV also kept in regular touch with media agencies and their clients, changing strategies as the Games went on, a tactic that could be seen last night as congratulatory ads (by McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Bell) – commenting on medals won and featuring up-to-the-moment clips – filled the commercial breaks during the Closing Ceremonies.

It’s a sentiment with which Doug Sinclair, broadcast manager, Genesis Vizeum, agrees.

‘I believe the Vancouver 2010 television execution was superb,’ he says. ‘The major sponsors definitely stood out. Their high frequency will lead to high recall. I know I will remember the image of the Chevy car yelling ‘human’ for some time.’