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Web 2.0 and the Beijing Olympic Games

Beijingolympiclogo The opening of the Beijing Olympic Games is now only 10 days away and many of the athletes, media and other various visitors are all starting to arrive in China. I've been covering the various marketing programs that this year's sponsors have developed. A couple of weeks ago I wrote this post here on Lipsticking about McDonald's and their biggest Olympic sponsorship marketing program ever. Earlier this week I wrote this post on my blog, Donna's Promo Talk, about Kodak and their involvement this year in which they're taking a much different approach than McDonald's.

Jenny Kodak has been one of big brands that has truly embraced the blogosphere. Their blog, A Thousand Words, features various Kodak employees who share their stories about imaging as well as their images. Jenny Cisney is one of these Kodak employees who is a regular blogger on A Thousand Words and who also maintains her own blog, ljcfyi. Even though I'm from Rochester, NY, and have worked with Kodak for many years, I actually first met Jenny when I attended the BlogHer 2007 Conference in Chicago last July. Anyhow, since then Jenny and I have stayed in touch and earlier this year Kodak promoted her to become their first ever "Chief Blogger".

Kodakolympic_logo_2 Now getting back to this year's Olympic games, Kodak is sending Jenny to Beijing to be their official Chief Blogger who will share with us the fan experience, as well as the sights and sounds, culture, etc. from the Games. Kodak is also sending Richard Mackson, a professional photographer who previously worked with Sports Illustrated, who will be posting photos from the games, and also Tom Hoehn will report on how Kodak products are supporting the Games. So, Kodak appears to be embracing this whole new world of social media for this year's games and I'm planning to be following Kodak's blog (and Jenny on Twitter) as the Games begin.

Nbc_beijing_2 Now there is also a huge opportunity this year for NBC, "America's Olympic Network", who owns the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Olympic Games through 2012 to embrace Web 2.0. NBC will be carrying an unprecedented 2,200 hours of coverage streamed live online at NBCOlympics.com. This means that there is the potential for many more online advertising impressions. However, this ClickZ Network article that ran yesterday stated that JupiterResearch's Emily Riley is wondering if NBC will make the most of it and believes that they're placing too much emphasis on TV and not enough on the Web.

"Users are rarely motivated to shift their viewing behavior from TV to the Web," Riley told ClickZ News. "You're literally going to have thousands of hours of footage that may never even be aired that are of interest to large groups and niche groups."

So are these Olympic sponsors placing big online media buys this year? The article goes on to state that NBCOlympics.com advertisers include Johnson & Johnson and DreamWorks, who will be promoting its new "Eagle Eye" movie staring Shia Labeouf that will hit theatres in late September. Riley also noted that she thinks "NBC is hoarding the content" and not making it easy for their viewers to distribute and share any of it. However, the article does say that NBC is making widgets available that will feature news, videos and event results.

So I have a few questions for readers here: How many people think that they'll be spending more time viewing Olympic news and events online vs. TV this year? If you see an online ad during the Olympic coverage will you assume it's an official sponsor? Will you be blogging about the games and looking for content that you can distribute?

I'm going to be out-of-town the first week visiting my parents who still don't have broadband Internet, so I know my online time will be limited that week. What about yours?


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Donna DeClemente

You bring up some interesting points Lee. Now that I'm in touch with what Kodak's doing I'll be monitoring Jenny and Tom's posts from Beijing. I plan to get together with Jenny when she's back after the games and I hope to be able to discuss with her and share how the experience was.

We need to keep in mind that it is a major first step forward for China even though as Americans we see it as going backwards. If we were hosts to this year games I would think that Web 2.0 would be a much more prominent strategy utilized by the sponsors on a global basis.

Lee Drake

Too bad that the Chinese Government won't let so many of their citizens, or even reporters covering the Olympics to reach social networking sites, or sites such as Wikipedia. Despite assurances to the IOC Internet access is limited, even within the hotels and the Olympic Venue by their heavy censorship rules.

And they've installed spyware and monitoring software both at the head end and in the hotels themselves. I hope Jenny, Krista and Tom can actually get to their social networking sites, and don't need access to information sources such as Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.com) during their stay. And oh - by the way - watch what you type, what you read and what you do over there.

It's too bad really because the IOC had the ability to say "no censorship or no Olympics" but they caved in to China's requirements.




This is such a great blog! I am glad I know about it now. I am so excited to go to Beijing... stay tuned for my posts!


Donna, another informative and fun post! Thank you!

tom hoehn

Hey thanks for the props! I know I am personally looking forward to this Games (I head there Monday). This will be my fifth and Jenny's first. I think the mix of perspectives will provide for some interesting posts. This Games will be like none other in history and we hope to share a Kodak perspective which will of course include tons of great pictures! ;-) Xie xie, tom

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