The 2nd wave of Olympics moment marketing

The second wave is upon us – the second wave of ‘Olympics moment marketing’, that is.

Related read: The wild world of moment-marketing

Two brands have ‘announced’ rewards to athletes who did not win a medal/missed a medal – Tata Motors and Mankind Pharma.

Now, given how totally ignored athletes are for 4 years prior to an Olympics, this is indeed a welcome gesture. But I do hope the recipient athletes were informed that they are going to get something, directly, first, before both the brands announced it to the media, with joy, gratitude, or a combination of both.

Tata Motors says that they are “happy to deliver…“, while Mankind Pharma says, “we have decided to award…” – the phrasing in the announcements makes it seem like the athletes would hear about the largesse bestowed upon them from media reports.

Mankind Pharma’s message on LinkedIn and Facebook carries a different tense “Each athlete received a reward…”, indicating that they have been informed already and the reward has been delivered to them, though that is not the sense one gets when seeing their Twitter message.

Once again – the idea that the non-winners are being encouraged is a great sign and a much-needed course correction. But there is a thin line between that and whether they are being used because they are all in the limelight of India’s best-ever Olympics.

Consider this: how many companies should announce ‘rewards’ and ‘gifts’ for non-medal Olympic participants from India for us to start believing that they are being used? Two? Five? Ten?

So far, it is two.

The other part is the public announcement. Consider the parties involved:
Givers: Tata Motors, and Mankind Pharma.
Receivers: Non-medal-winning participants of the Indian contingent.

The givers could give what they want directly to the deserving receivers and the act would be exactly the same. Where do we, the public, come into the picture? Is the act completed only when it is announced to the public?

Or, when the public is informed about this gesture, do we deduce that the intent was not merely ‘giving’, but to gain prominence from the act of generosity?

A few years ago, my perspective would have stopped at that. But increasingly, I have come to believe that such an announcement has a positive effect too, besides offering the rub-off publicity to the giver: it may inspire more brands/people to emulate the act.

I have seen this work quite well in charity and donations, much like peer-influenced purchasing of products/services.

But, even within the thin line of publicity-seeking vs. genuine generosity, a brand could use the right framing to showcase its intent appropriately.

“We are happy to deliver” and “We have decided to award” could pave the way to, “We are happy to have delivered” and “We have awarded”, with photos of the recipients actually receiving the intended awards.

Just like moment-marketing, this could increase the time-to-market for the PR opportunity, by which time another brand could get to know the idea and emulate it. But unlike moment-marketing, more brands emulating this is a good thing, overall. There is no race to be won by being the first company to announce that they have been generous to someone – if it is done and then spoken about, that is a job well done. As against, informing the media and the public about your company’s intent and the intended recipients coming to know of it through the media.



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