Never advertise during the Olympics

It seems that if you sponsor the Olympics then you get thousands of TV advertising spots thrown in.

So – for those companies that sponsor the Olympics this is for you:


By now I now dislike your company, your products, and most especially your advertisements.

It’s only day 4.

By the end of the Olympics I will be at the point where I have a visceral hate for your brands, for your company.

I will short your shares, push your products to the back of shelves, send letters to your board, throw any of your products I mistakenly purchased in the past out of the window on to the street, walk on the other side of the street from your flagship stores, scratch your brand names off any of my friends products, recommend everybody else’s products to my friends, acquaintances and strangers on the street, blog incessantly about how piss-poor your products and company really are, give unsolicited advice to shoppers browsing your brands and start small wars in countries where you have a leading market share.

Please just stop. I have seen your ads, now let me see the Olympics.

There is a way to do this.

Shorten the advertisements. Use overlay ads instead of breaking away from the sport. Make hundreds of different ads. Make half-decent ads. Don’t make your ads look like the actual Olympics. Change your ads when things happen. Break for one ad at a time, not a series.

Above all, don’t give me time to channel surf or to switch on some other entertainment.

I’m so over these Olympics – Actually I was over them in about 1984 truth be told.

Published by Lance Wiggs


7 replies on “Never advertise during the Olympics”

  1. I LOVE the Olympics. I thought I was over them right up until they day they started. Now I’m glued to the TV and I generally never turn it on.

    I think I am experiencing that whole tv mind numbing thing.

    I concur on the ads though. Even IF I was planning on buying a gas guzzler, I wont now. Even IF I enjoyed Mc Donalds, the fact they are the Official restaurant of the olympic games just makes me snigger. And Westpac, you cannot claim to be the main supporter if you are simply asking your customers to contribute their money.

    OK, I watch too much Olympics, but my competitive streak/patriotism has really come out, and I sit there screaming at the TV whenever we’re involved. Weird. Maybe it is the tooth drugs after all.


  2. Did you actually suggest overlay ads here?! I want as few commercials and as few breaks as possible too, but I am shocked to see anyone suggesting overlay ads! These are the bane of our (television) existence. They make it impossible to fast forward through ad time, and they also often (especially in the case of something like the olympics) block what is happening on the screen. This is a terrible idea.

    The best idea I think (of all the terrible options we have open to us), is letting multiple huge corporations sponser the Olympics in part, let them put their name on everything (still annoying) like Omega obviously has done with this olympics and have fewer ads, with a note like “this ‘commercial free’ portion of the 2008 Bejing Olympics is brought to you by….”.

    Obviously one company can’t carry the whole load,but maybe if we broke it up in sections it could go down a little easier.


  3. 1979SF – Yes, but I mean overlay ads that don’t cover up anything vital – e.g. the ones where the screen showing the sport squeezes in slightly and the banner fits at the bottom, or watermark type ads. Done well and there is no ad time to fast forward through. Done badly, as you say, and you’ll just get mad at the broadcaster and advertiser, and stop watching the sport.

    I like the “this commercial free segment bought to you by…” tag line – that’s something that makes everybody feel good about the sponsor.


  4. goosmurf – awesome – how to get NBC’s excellent streaming coverage in Australia. Theoretically.
    I’ve heard that Microsoft’s Silverlight is not mac compatible, but it seems that a late beta release means yes. Whoa – hang on, you can watch NBC using a mac.


  5. I appreciate the execution of some of the TVCs used during the Olympics this year could do with some variation, but if we don’t have core sponsors, who’s going to pay for the broadcast?


  6. Mike
    We need sponsors for sure – the cost of broadcasting rights for the games is certainly prohibitive. I’m not saying we should not have core sponsors, but I do believe that those sponsors can be a lot more clever about their advertising.

    My theses is that they should collectively pay more per ad, but show a lot less of them. This means more people will watch the games, the ads don’t get over exposed and we end up liking the brands that “brought (or bought) us the Olympics” rather than learning to despise them.

    Meanwhile BHP Billiton is a big sponsor – but they are not plastering their advertisements everywhere, but they are placing them quietly where it matters, and are using the sponsorship as a vehicle to build relationships between the company and it’s biggest customers in China.


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