Tech to drive brand activity
Watts says GMR's clients have been keen to embrace digital and social media for the Olympics, as opposed to solely TV campaigns. "Digital and social certainly played a part in 2012, but in the past four years this has been taken to the next level," he says.
"With the amends to Rule 40 (of the Olympic Charter) we fully expect to see some non-official sponsors continue to run their athlete campaigns throughout the Olympic Games for the first time. We don't expect this to be too disruptive, but it does afford these brands additional opportunity."
Azar believes that social and digital media activations represent the biggest opportunities - and challenges - for most brands. "This includes both the on-site experience and engagement as well as global activations in digital channels," he says.
"Following developments we saw at the most recent World Cup, it will also be interesting to see which role not only brands, but also the rights holder itself, plus content and media partners, play in this space."
Azar is also keen to see how the sporting event will be viewed and enjoyed, and how the events themselves will be amplified.
"The continued fragmentation of how fans consume the Games and related content, be it via mobile technology, apps or out-of-home viewing, and the way brands capitalise on that opportunity, will be equally fascinating.
"While 'public viewing' is already a well-established brand-and-marketing platform around the World Cup, the Olympic Games has historically not seen the same success in this space and it will be interesting to see if the organisers and brands can find the winning formula in 2016," he adds.
Hospitality still key
Rob Sharp, managing director at Pulse Group, believes brands will leverage a combination of hospitality and experiential.
"The Games will provide clients and sponsors with an opportunity to engage with customers and fans at the same time," he says.
"We are finding that our most popular experiential activities are those that look to build a bridge between nations and offer brands and National Olympic Committee houses exceptional experiences. Our artistic direction, cultural programming and curation teams are incredibly busy."
Watts (right) adds that hospitality outside of Rio could prove lucrative for brands: "In the UK, you may find brands utilising the timing of the Games to put on VIP parties in the evening with a European theme. It provides an opportunity to entertain guests outside of working hours."
Doing good deeds
With brands increasingly expected to give back to the local communities in which they activate, it seems the memory of the Games may linger a little longer in Rio.
"Long-lasting legacy initiatives that are true to their promise have risen in importance for brands in markets such as Brazil. This comes around concerns about commercialisation of global events that do not adequately benefit communities," says Azar.
"There is depth behind many of the activations across Rio, with a wealth of opportunity for life-changing legacy strategies," adds Sharp. "We speak with first-hand experience where we are transforming run-down areas with our clients, giving back in a way that transforms these spaces. All our events, structures and imported goods have a phenomenal home to go to after the Games."
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