Making the most of a marketing opportunity

Did you see the amazing scenes in Yorkshire, Cambridge and London this week at the launch of this year’s Tour de France? It is estimated that 6 million people turned out to line the route and many more watched on TV; what a marketing opportunity! The route certainly did a great job of showcasing England’s beautiful scenery and wonderful places which should encourage people to visit.

The problem with events like the Tour de France and the Olympics is that there are strict rules about what you can and can’t do. Some of these are pretty standard in protecting the brand’s intellectual property whilst others are there to protect their relationship with their sponsors. Break the rules and the organisation is likely to come after you even if you are a small business. So it’s important to be creative.

A great campaign

Yellow sheep ensured plenty of media coverage for the Yorkshire Building Society.

Yellow sheep ensured plenty of media coverage for the Yorkshire Building Society.

One campaign which captured the imagination was Yorkshire Building Society’s yellow sheep. A herd of 150 sheep had their fleeces dyed the colour of the race leader’s jersey! A large banner proclaimed, ‘Yorkshire’s getting into the spirit of the tour de France’. Photos were taken and broadcast across social media channels resulting in coverage in the national media and across the web. Congratulations to Soul marketing agency for a very clever idea.

A cafe owner in Langsett near Penistone painted polka dots on the outside walls in homage to the ‘King of the Mountains’ jersey, and he remembered to make sure his business name was displayed prominently too. Other businesses took a similar approach.

Some ideas

The Tour de France has now moved on but there are other opportunities to promote your business. Next up is the Commonwealth Games so let’s think how you could use that to promote your business:

  • Create displays using the colours of the Commonwealth Games, red, green, blue, gold (but don’t attempt to use the logo without specific permission from the organising committee).
  • Use themes that represent the sports included in the Games; so if you help solve people’s problems you could use an image of a hurdle as a starting point for example.
  • A travel agent could feature holidays in the countries competing at the Games
  • A food business could plan menus around the food from those countries
  • A pub or club could design cocktails based around the drinks favoured in the competing countries
  • Dress your staff in a kilt or the national dress of a competing country
  • Hold your own opening or closing ceremony and invite customers, prospects and suppliers.

You get the idea and don’t forget if you do run a topical marketing campaign make sure you publicise it across social media and by sending press releases to relevant journalists.

How have you linked your marketing campaigns to a big event? What will you do to promote your business during the Commonwealth Games or similar big event? I’d love to hear your stories.

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