We're less than 30 days away from the start of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the buzz for the Games is really starting to heat up. Wait, heating up probably isn't a good description, what with all the winter events ... hmmm.
Anywho, excitement for the Winter Olympics is always less than its summer counterpart. NBC showing the Winter Games is the equivalent of a college giving a scholarship to a five-star recruit and then having to use another slot for his two-star best friend as part of the deal. He's on the team and can bring some occasional excitement, so why not put him out there if you're paying for him anyway.
Reports state that NBC expects to lose an estimated $200 million dollars on the Winter Olympics, blaming in somewhat ironic fashion, the wintry economic climate. Interesting to note that NBC actually lost around $150 million on the Beijing Games as well, making viewers wonder if NBC has overvalued the Olympic property just a tad. Per TelevisionBroadcast.com:
The American network paid $2.2 billion for broadcast rights to the Vancouver Games and the 2012 Summer Games in London. It paid $894 million for exclusive U.S. broadcast rights for the 2008 Beijing Games. Despite drawing a record audience and generating more than $1 billion in revenue for the network, NBC lost around $150 million on the Beijing Olympics. The network has broadcast the Olympics in the United States since 2000, when it paid a total of $5.7 billion for the rights through 2012.I know what you're thinking – I'm talking all about NBC losing millions upon millions of dollars when I promised nugget bombardment in the headline. Per the New York Times, one of those advertisers preparing a huge campaign is McDonald's, who is beginning, in earnest, its push to the Olympics.
Reporters at the TV Critics Press Association event Sunday quoted NBC Olympics Executive Producer Dick Ebersol saying that initial ad sales for the Games were slow but picking up. He said the network would nonetheless likely incur a loss, even as advertisers prepare huge campaigns.
The Times reports that much of the marketing will surround the Chicken McNugget because, according to McDonald's chief marketing officer Mary Dillon, the nuggets, sorry McNuggets, are the most popular menu item among athletes at each Olympics.
Yes, the Olympians are habitually chowing down on McNuggets at the Olympic Village by the bucketful, so McDonald's will be pumping those tasty little fried chicken ... things ... to a hungry, and somewhat captive, Olympic audience. You may not be able to survive the Super G or land a triple toe loop like an Olympian, but McDonald's is hoping you'll partake in an after-event snack just the same as your favorite medal hopefuls.
In some countries, McDonald's plans to play on the term "golden" to tie in an Olympic theme with their delectable chicken treats, from "now that's golden" in host-nation Canada to "share the gold" across Scandinavia. What's most interesting, however, is the way McDonald's plans to target those of us online.
[T]here will be a campaign in social media carrying the theme “How do you McNugget?” which will include a scavenger hunt on Facebook and Twitter.
Yes, McDonald's is preparing to bombard our Facebook pages and Twitter feeds with an Olympic-themed 'scavenger hunt' for McNuggets.
The goal is to advertise in ways that doesn't look like advertising and hijacking a few Olympic twitter feeds, or creating a hunt for coupons and other free items through hash tags and trending topics, is a new and interesting way to build the brand around the Games.
It looks like, come February, the only thing organic about McDonald's Chicken McNuggets will be the Olympic marketing campaign.
Oh, and if McDonald's doesn't like that pun, it won't matter, as they are developing their own media workforce. Part of the Olympic marketing campaign also includes the McDonald's Champion Kids program, which, per the Times, "brings children from various nations to the Games to attend events, meet athletes and serve as junior media correspondents."
Yes, since the 2008 Games, McDonald's is now staffing their own volunteer army of media correspondents, likely pumping them full of McNuggets in an effort to take over the sports world. We don't stand a chance. If you need me, I'll be wallowing in the corner with a 20-piece and a large order of fries.
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.