COMMENTARY: Sports offer immense platform for advertising

Over the last couple of days many people around the world have been hooked to the global phenomenon, the Olympic Games. Unlike the football World Cup that involves just a few countries, the Olympics Games are as inclusive as you can imagine.
 Allan Brian Ssenyonga
Allan Brian Ssenyonga

Over the last couple of days many people around the world have been hooked to the global phenomenon, the Olympic Games. Unlike the football World Cup that involves just a few countries, the Olympics Games are as inclusive as you can imagine.

Over 200 countries take part and the sporting disciplines are also numerous. Thousands of athletes and sports personalities take part in the games that are always held in just one city that wins the bids to host the games every four years. After the different competitions, winners are given medals, hugs are exchanged and national anthems are played.

A lot of honour and pride is directed towards each country that manages to scoop a medal while the sportsmen bask in the limelight that comes around only once in four years. In the just concluded London Games we know that Swimmers Michael Phelps and Yi Shiwen are in their own class just like the runners, Usain Bolt and David Rudisha.

What we may forget is that the real winner at the end of the day is advertising. Such global events draw the attention of the best journalists and thus offer the best coverage anyone would ever wish for. Companies that want to boost their sales and market visibility love such events.

With millions and millions of people tuning in to watch, big companies know that this is a best chance to hook a mass audience with their products and services. The competition is always so stiff that only those companies that are willing to sign big cheques will make it to this platform.

The expenses maybe high but the advertiser is assured of ‘being seen’ which more often than not is precisely the case. Brand presence gradually elevates a product or service to a psychological experience. And what better way to engender this than at a time when we all stop what we were doing to watch a race at the games.

By the time it is done, you have been made to think that indeed there is something cool about wearing Nikes or Reeboks. The gold medallist with an Adidas vest will have you reaching out for it in the shop the next time you are shopping.

However even away from big events like the Olympics, sports in general is generally a good area to invest advertising money. There is something about sports that brings people together in a way that an advertiser would love.

For example someone pointed out that during the Olympic Games, all we see is a Kenyan running not a Kalenjin or Maasai. What this means is that for someone to position a product to a large and united audience then sports is the best bet.

During the last football World Cup, almost all Africans were united in supporting the Ghanaian football team. What this means in advertising terms is that a company had a chance to position a product to a mass audience as big as the whole continent just by having advertised with the Ghanaian national football team.

Business people and marketing executives need to look at sports with a keen eye if they wish to sell products to the masses. Local companies should start directing more money into sports events for better mileage.

 

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