The opportunity for brands in a postponed Olympics

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 31 March 2020

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics has created opportunities for brands and broadcasters, says Mark Henning, executive director, media and digital, at data analyst group Kantar.

Many advertisers, unless they are sponsors of the Olympics, would have planned reduced spend during the games because of the high share of voice commanded by the event.

“This means that with the event shifting there are opportunities for brands to capitalise throughout this period by increasing their spend and potentially achieving higher share of voice due to others advertisers staying away or previously allocating budgets elsewhere,” he told AdNews.

“This will be a benefit for all media players who will aim to boost their advertiser presence through what can be a quieter period for non broadcast partners.

“Ultimately throughout these times of uncertainty it is important for marketers to play the long game.

“Taking a long view for your brand – which means it is risky to go completely dark for extended periods – will likely position your brand well for when the market improves.”

Brands make significant investment in both sponsorship and content to capture Olympics audiences and Henning says postponement creates challenges.

For brands, postponement has a significant impact on strategy because the Olympics would have been the big play of 2020.

“They will now need to review their plans. Do they try to hold money over and reallocate to the Olympics in 2021?” says Henning.

“What sort of impact does that have on them for the remainder of 2020 as additional budget in these times will be hard to negotiate.

“We have seen from our data that when brands have a share of voice higher than their share of market they have a strong chance of growth.

“The flip side is also the same – long periods out of the market are likely to impact sales especially for larger brands.

“So how to fill the second half of the 2020 schedule is likely to be high on the agenda for many brands, especially with continuing uncertainty due to coronavirus.”

Another scenario is that the money allocated in budgets to the Olympics will simply drop to the bottom line, disappearing from the ad spend universe, as brands hold on to cash in an economy made hard to forecast by the coronavirus.

For broadcasters, the big event for 2002 would also have been the Olympics. The issue is the lost revenue (balanced by the costs which no longer apply) and what programming replaces the games.

“I am sure that broadcasters will be working very closely with brands to understand their business challenges presented by the postponement and look to maintain their presence for the remainder of 2020 while at the same time thinking about the 2021 reschedule,” he says.

In Australia, games broadcaster Seven West Media had some weeks ago already booked $90 million and taken on a range of brands as sponsors.

Some brisk renegotiations are currently taking place with those advertisers.

“We’re already working together to explore all options and to help support them in reaching their key audiences now, when messaging is more important than ever,” says Kurt Burnette, Seven’s chief revenue officer.

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