The Olympic’s I.O.C have relaxed their rules regarding athlete sponsorship during major competition. It enables those who wouldn’t have been traditionally ‘Big’ sponsors, to finally utilise the pulling power of famous athletes. These newer ‘next-bigger’ brands can now utilise an athlete’s exposure for brand building. This is a highly effective tool when coupled with the brand’s digital marketing strategy. The result can be highly effective digital marketing Ireland and indeed the whole world can connect with.

Brands Can Now Market Themselves. But Not All…

Brands like Under Armour have already called on Michael Phelps to help push their brand name internationally. This call comes as the I.O.C seeks to ingratiate themselves within the athletic community. Before, competitors would have had to abandon any sponsorship deals coming into Olympic competition time, under previous I.O.C rulings. A blackout period for these brands kicks in nine days before the games officially start, and run for the course of all competition.   The cautious relaxing of the rule means advertising with chosen athletes can now occur, but, however, with a stringent emphasis on non-use of ‘Olympic’ recognised words. Words like ‘Rio’ ‘Olympic’ and even ‘Games’ ‘Gold’ ‘Effort’ and ‘Summer’ in certain contexts.This would include their presence upon social media also, with a wrongly-worded tweet or status rendering them liable for sanction. It means facing a hurdle (can I say that, IOC?) for marketers to get their brand and message across throughout the games, without directly referencing the competition that everyone knows is on… and which everyone will be subtly referring to.

Olympic Sponsorship; Guidelines Too Harsh Still?

The move should have opened doors for marketing campaigns for smaller, Irish sponsors to use Irish athletes. The application structure however, required that a pitch was sent to the I.O.C from as early as January of this year; well before most olympians were confirmed to be travelling to Rio in the first place. There would be undoubted value in a well executed campaign, that included sponsorship of qualified athletes, on top of high-quality, reactive digital marketing Ireland’s Olympic viewers could engage with. It would be a certain marketing success for raising awareness of a brand. Instead, this trickle down effect of seemingly good-will from the I.O.C resulted only in companies big enough to hedge their bets on athletes early on making pitches. This kind of exposure for many medium sized businesses would’ve been huge. Because Irish athletes have the power and international heft to push brands. The value of being linked to our competitors has been increased.  

Sponsorship Help’s Digital Marketing Ireland’s Businesses Use.

So, does the idea of sponsorship on a smaller, more communal level work for SME’s? On any scale, the implementation of sponsorship proves to boost one’s presence and your audience’s awareness of you. Even to the degree of a small to medium-sized business sponsoring a local children’s community sports team. It encourages a good feel factor to your brand; it shows you care about the community you are based in.   If your name is emblazoned across the chest of someone’s daughter for example, a subconscious emotional tie develops. An online address to a social media platform on the clothing, can increase traffic for digital marketing Ireland’s businesses need. The key is to consider who your target audience is, and which sport/team would this market be exposed to most. Coupling this knowledge with strong digital marketing Ireland’s businesses would undoubtedly benefit a hundredfold by local sponsorship of a communal team.