Changing the Way We Sell the World

My major was in marketing, so I try to see what the marketing world is up to every so often, even though I changed my career to education.

Today in the New York Times, there were two interesting articles about two completely different areas of society and business trying to stay with the times and in a world recession make some money.

The IOC is now accepting tasteful videos of 12-19 year olds completing various sports challenges from some of the world’s most well-known athletes like Shawn Johnson, Rafael Nadal, Michael Phelps, etc. The idea behind this new marketing campaign is to keep the Olympics relevant to the potential younger audiences because the Olympics only happen once every two (counting both the Summer and Winter Games together) or every four (counting just one type of Games) years. And the IOC needs to do something to combat the intense competition in the audiences’ lives, from movies, music, video games, etc.

On the other hand, Disney is upgrading their retail stores to be more like the Apple’s mall stores, included will be interactive TV screens so that the tweens can talk to their favorite Disney Channel actors, special mirrors that will add a crown to your head when you walk by, a mini-theater so that children can pick their own favorite clips to watch, a “What Would Tinkerbell Do?” section, instead of the 3-D exerience there will be a smell experience, etc.

I understand why Disney is doing and spending over a million dollars in store reconstruction over the next five years. Disney isn’t the only animated maker in town and they need to get as many young children (and their parents) to identify with the Disney brand as young as possible to have lifelong customers. When there was a Warner Bros. store, unless you could tell the characters apart at the first glance, it took a while before realizing which store you were in. And one way to do that is to have the most original, innovative store that will capture a child (and possibly their parents)’s imagination and their heart.

As for the IOC, I don’t really think that this will be the solution to the declining viewers or merchandising or relevancy of the Games. When you have teenagers that are too impatient to wait and build skills to represent their homelands for the next Olympics, so they research their ancestries or “move” to another country because the only thing that matters is the title of Olympian. I think for the Olympics to be relevant again, they need to get rid of the rule that says you can compete for more than one country, because the original intent was to give the athletes that were born or had competed for the USSR (Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, etc.) could compete in future Olympics, however by now, anyone that has been or will compete in the Olympics won’t have that issue. I think overall the general sense of patriotism and/or nationalism has been erased, which would explain why a top athlete like Becky Hammond could play for Russia when she hadn’t been invited to the USA Basketball tryouts.

I don’t know how successful either of these new marketing campaigns will be, but I’ll be interested in seeing what happens and how (un)accurate I was.

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