News & Views
All Eyes Are On Rio

Tonight is the night! After months of preparation, it is finally time for the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games. There have been doubts that Rio will be able to pull it off, complaints about the conditions of athletic facilities, and claims that Brazil is already regretting winning the Olympic bid. With the moment of truth upon us, here are three things you might not know about Rio 2016.

Brands beware

London 2012 marked the first fully social Olympic Games, and so it stands to reason that livetweeting will play a central role in the spectator experience this time around. But if you’re a North American brand and you want to get in on the action, tread lightly; outside of official partner companies, organisations are forbidden from creating content with overt links to the Games, including a moratorium on usage of all trademarked terms. These include “Olympian,” “Go for the gold,” “Let the games begin,” “Road to Rio,” and “Gateway to gold,” along with official hashtags such as #TeamUSA or #Rio2016. News media outlets and individuals are, of course, free to hashtag to their hearts’ content.


“Do not create social media posts that are Olympic themed, that feature Olympic trademarks, that contain Games imagery or congratulate Olympic performance, unless you are an official sponsor as specified in the Social Media Section,” reads a letter to non-sponsor brands from the U.S. Olympic Committee, which has left a number of companies wondering how, if at all, they can benefit from the Olympic conversation.

“Several of our clients are interested in considering other ways to leverage the buzz that the games are going to have over the next three weeks,” Ketchum Sports & Entertainment’s EVP Shawn McBride tells AdWeek. “We’ve counselled them to be very judicious in what they do and to err on the side of caution when it comes to any of those key terms. The official hashtags are avoided easily enough.”

Athletes have undergone Twitter training 

Sportspeople competing in the Olympics have two goals; win gold, and don’t insult the host country. Reports on conditions in Rio have been less than stellar, and US delegations are being coached on how to not complain. The USOC even created a special simulation training video, in which an athlete fires off an ill-mannered tweet about a slow bus, only to find himself the most hated man in Brazil when he reaches his destination.

It’s shrewd management to nip this sort of thing in the bud from the off, to avoid the dreaded Justine Sacco effect. There has already been one minor Twitter faux pas; Team USA’s goalkeeper Hope Solo tweeted a photo of herself wearing a mosquita net and clutching a can of insect repellent prior to her flight to Rio, leading to audiences taunting her with chants of “Zika! Zika!” Solo held her hands up and apologised, even going so far as to call the US media’s coverage of the Zika virus in Brazil “really tough” and “sensationalised.” She also laughed off the chanting, saying: “I’m glad the fans had fun… and if they had fun at my expense, more power to them.”

There are more ways to watch than ever before

In addition to the usual TV coverage, you can also see the Games through the eyes of some of your favourite YouTubers. Google is dispatching 15 of its Creators to livestream Rio 2016, including Chloe Morello, Liza Koshy, Ben Brown, Brodie Smith and Caeli. Google has also assigned ‘trekkers’ to capture 360 degree footage of the Olympic Park, enabling users all over the world to get an on-the-ground look via Google Street View.

And it wouldn’t be the Socialympics without the omnipresent trend that is VR. In the UK, sports fans will be able to watch up to 100 hours of key event footage in virtual reality — including the Opening Ceremony — thanks to the BBC.

“This is a hugely exciting next step in our 360 and virtual reality experiments,” says Will Saunders, BBC Taster’s Editorial Lead. “There’s huge potential for immersive video in sport coverage, as well as many other genres, and we want to explore that potential directly with audiences… We can’t wait to hear what people think.”

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