Faced with stringent IOC rules and guidelines, many brands have had to resort to intelligent guerilla practises. The IOC has forced the hands of many marketeers to come up with subtle ways of having their products visible. Here are the most ingenious ways guerilla marketing utilised the Olympic occasion without illegally stepping angering the IOC. They’re ingenious, yet simple, and a lesson in guerilla marketing Ireland’s businesses should recognise.  

Dre’s ‘Beats’: London 2012

Despite Panasonic being the ‘official’ headphone of the London Olympics, Dr. Dre masterfully upstaged the rival brand, by sending out personalised ‘Beats’ to every member of Team GB. In 2012, ‘Beats’ were at the height of their popularity, and athletes were only happy to use his ‘cans’. And use them they did throughout the entire ceremony. This gained ‘Beats’ priceless airtime.  

McDonalds Neon Sign At Opening Ceremony

During the Opening ceremony of Atlanta 1996, the main camera-shot that showed the athletes walking in featured a McDonalds sign. Though in the background, it was perfectly positioned to feature most prominently when viewed by the cameras. The sign in question was part of an actual McDonalds close by to the stadium. McDonalds maintain it was a happy accident on their part, but we’re not so sure.  And nor are much other people in the industry. They had the most heightened exposure of any brand on the biggest night of the Olympic Games for advertisers. The incident had the IOC in a right tizzy.  

Nike’s Shoes

By making sprinter Michael Johnson’s Nike shoes a distinct shiny-gold hue, the brand really held themselves up from other running shoe brands. They stuck out and were the absolute winners of that Olympics, going on to be featured on the cover of Time magazine after the games, with the actual official sports shoe brand sponsor Puma performing much worse. Coupled with a ‘Nike Centre’ set up near the Olympic village which handed out Nike flags to the general public, they effectively stole Puma’s thunder in Atlanta, 1996.  

Elasun Chinese Condom

This Chinese condom brand dreamed up hilarious condom adverts using Olympic event sports, without directly referring to the Olympics or any of the insignia or terms marked as ‘no-go’s’ by the IOC. They created the images using actual condoms (see: below). The images are hilariously tongue-in-cheek. As before, not one mention of the Olympics appears throughout, but are undeniably linked to the Olympics. A triumph by Elasun who were lauded for their efforts.

Apple Watch strap

Apple sneakily released versions of their Apple watches with the colours of competing Olympic countries. Whats so smart about that? Well, they’re only available from a store which is closest to Olympic stadiums. Subtle shade thrown at main sponsors ‘Samsung’ which duly paid off, as we have witnessed much of Rio’s Olympians wearing the Apple watch with their countries colour’s strap.  

Lessons In Guerilla Marketing Ireland’s Businesses Can Learn From

All these examples of subtle, guerilla marketing show how a little bit of thought can provide devastating effects. Sometimes you don’t need a big budget, just the willingness to put your neck out and make some noise. Successful examples of guerilla marketing Ireland’s consumers will react best to, are the ones that stick out. Unconventional marketing like guerilla or ambush marketing can pay dividends when the content is strong enough.