Why brands must allocate media budgets to themed-content offerings.
The pageantry, excitement, and glory of the Olympic Games awakens the athlete in all of us. The athletes represent the best we can be physically. The triumphs remind us that the impossible is possible and adversity can be overcome. The bedrock truths of human nature evidenced by all cultures, races, religions, ethnicities, and creeds lay foundation to a global community.
Every two years, the Olympics affords us overwhelming, positive feelings, and emotions through the athletes and their stories, the events, and the spirit evidenced in everyone touched by them. Something this powerful is magnetic. It draws us as close as we can get. We devour as much as we can access, watch, read, hear, experience, feel, and play.
To satisfy demand, media companies, Web sites, and even consumers are delivering a 24/7 treasure trove of Olympic content online. Game companies and interactive entertainment developers are immersing us in virtual Olympic experiences. Together, the interactivity of online and console content offerings and games have brought us closer to the Olympics and the international community than many dreamed possible.
I'm truly amazed by the wealth of Olympics content on the Web. Everything that you could want to understand and experience relating to the Olympics is available in real time and on-demand. For example:
Here are some Olympic educational games online:
Here are some Olympic event experiences for various platforms, including consoles, online, and mobile devices.
Who is Making it Possible?
A tip of the hat to the big sponsors of the official media rights holder's content: Atos Origin, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, GE, and more big brands. They make up the lion's share of the advertising revenues that the official media partner generates.
These marketers are powering the 2008 Olympics while championing continued and expanded coverage of future Olympics. Their sponsorship dollars will deliver a profitable return on an unprecedented investment of resources, time, and talent to the official media partner, NBC. Without that, we would suffer a great loss of interest from the established media channels we consume and the top talent they employ in future Olympics media rights bids.
Equally important, and arguably in conflict with the official media rights holder, are competing media companies, small media properties, ad agencies, development firms, Web sites, in-house marketing departments, and even consumer-generated media. They have Olympic content offerings that may not have the rings, but provide results.
One could argue that these companies hurt the games by diminishing the media rights holder's value and ROI (define), but both camps benefit all parties through coexistence. The Olympics gain greater exposure. More content is provided to receptive consumers. Smaller budget advertisers are given an opportunity to connect with consumers through Olympics content. Increased traffic is driven to the official media rights holder through promotion, links, and mentions from competing media properties. More advertising dollars are budgeted.
Too late for you as a media buyer to execute an Olympic content sponsorship? There's still is a message the Beijing Olympics delivers specifically to you. It's a message that's applicable to other events you will consider allocating media budget to.
Media buys have become incredibly complex and, at the same time, incredibly powerful. To capitalize on an almost inconceivable and certainly unheralded marketplace, we must redefine our media evaluation and buying habits to align with the dramatic evolution of the media itself.
We must not only select media properties with big audiences and plan to engage them with standard Interactive Advertising Bureau ad units. We must also put media dollars behind branding content, integrating ads into interactive applications, and distributing the offerings that we develop.
If you aren't allocating some of your media budget to themed-content offerings and embed "incentives" that encourage Web sites and consumers to share your message, you slept through the revolution.
Thanks for your mind share.
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Kevin Carney is founder and CEO of GMS, an innovative company that provides interactive engagement solutions to many of the world's most recognizable brands. He began his career at Young & Rubicam and has since developed a proven record in the advertising, new media, and video game industries. He's held management positions within visionary companies, including Broadcast.com, TEN/Pogo.com (Electronic Arts), Vivendi Universal Games, Walt Disney Company, and Ziff Davis Game Group.
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