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Regional Business News
regarding the 2010 Olympics
in British Columbia, Canada


OlyBLOG is for businesses across Canada, especially in Vancouver / Whistler and throughout B.C. We also hope companies in Alberta and United States (i.e. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and California) will find OlyBLOG interesting and informative.






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VANOC GIVES MCDONALDS
ACCESS TO SCHOOL KIDS

BigMac - Breakfast of Champions

The Vancouver Sun spun a story on June 5, 2006 to initially make it look like it is a good thing that VANOC will give Ronald McDonald access to public schools in B.C. WOW! This is definitely bad for the community, but if you read the Sun headline and the first few paragraphs, plus saw the smiling pic of Ronald McD, you would never know it. Did you see this coming, or did VANOC sneak another fastball by you? Personally, I never equate junk food with Olympians, but apparently Olympic organizations feel a Big Mac is the breakfast of champions. McDonalds obviously loves the offer because it gives them access to new young customers at a vulnerable time in their lives, access they would never have if it weren't for the Olympics. It's a legacy health conscious Vancouverites can be proud of.

Some Olympic regions go along with this type of sponsorship, and others feel it is too intrusive. Speaking as a responsible parent, it is wrong, but now that it seems to be a done deal I also feel that if McDonalds has access to schools, that other types of companies should also have access to kids in school and also be allowed to market to them the same way McDonalds does. Junk food companies or any product that can be deemed detrimental to children should not be allowed on school property, but I see nothing wrong with giving access to companies like clothing, technology, and sports companies, etc.

How about local food grower organizations? Okanagan Valley farmers would be a perfect fit if they pooled their resources. They grow fruits and veggies better than anyone on earth. Too bad the Hamburglar robbed them of such a great Olympic opportunity. I cover this all too common practice at length in my new book, Leverage Olympic Momentum, and include an excerpt below. _____________

Excerpt from Leverage Olympic Momentum . . .

Everyone in an Olympic region gets in the ticket-selling game including students, parents and the school system, whether they want to or not. The public school system in most countries is already stressed, and adding a heavier workload severely impacts their primary mandate, which is to improve the educational experience for children. Olympic organizations don't see it that way. They see the public school system as an organized association with a captive audience. It's one thing for universities to get involved, but at the public school level it causes a myriad of problems that aren't easily resolved. To begin with, students in the public school system are younger and cannot take on the more complex administration workload that a university student can assume, which means it is passed on to teachers and parents. Students can however be counted on to do the grunt work. Inviting the Olympic enterprise into the school system also opens the doors for corporations like McDonalds and Coca-Cola. In Sydney, Olympic education kits sponsored by Coca-Cola and IBM were distributed to schools as early as 1995. It was a sophisticated branding project to get students tuned into Olympic ideology and subsequently introduce them to Olympic commercialism. The programs were presented using an educational subtext, but in reality provided a direct channel to impart the associated brands into the young budding psyche. School documents were branded with corporate logos, and students did literacy and numeric tests with Olympic themes. When interviewed by media one young student thought there should be a "test to see how much McDonald's you could eat in an hour." The imprinting plan worked incredibly well. Visa also got in the game and presented an "Olympics of the Imagination" program. The idea was to have kids create art that symbolized what the Olympic motto, "faster, higher, stronger" represents. The contest was featured in a regular Herald insert called "Olympic Insight." Teachers managed the competition in the classroom and as Lenskyj pointed out, through default became "Visa and Olympic volunteers." Art contests were also promoted that attracted 54,000 entries. In order to enter, students had to give up their copyright and agree to let Olympic organizations use the artwork for free to promote the Games. The artwork was reproduced on t-shirts, mugs, pins, ties, etc. It generates considerable revenue that is channeled to poorer Olympic countries. VANOC used a similar contest to entice artists to design their logo (Ilanaaq the Inukshuk), except in Vancouver artists had to actually pay a fee upfront to enter the contest. (hjl80)

Olympic organizations use kids in schools as a conduit to get to the community. SMBs should also be looking at ways to insert themselves into the same stream, and also through community sport programs and recreation centres. Sports = Olympics. The challenge is that Olympic organizations won't let you attach your project directly to their brand so you have to develop strategies that leverage the momentum without infringing on the copyright. In some cases it can be as simple as sponsoring a youth neighborhood sport team like soccer or baseball. Create your own mini-Olympics by bringing 'Olympic excitement' to the field. You can't use the five rings or the flame to brand your project, but you can infuse excitement into the program by making indirect references to growing up to be an Olympic champion. Take what is already there and expand upon it. Scale it to your reality. . . . end of excerpt



* We invested over three years and a six-figure budget researching Olympic organizations' relationships with sponsors, contractors, suppliers, partners, etc. The results surprised us too. Click below . . .



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Olympic organizations are
BIG BUSINESS MACHINES that attract corporations like CocaCola, McDonald's, Wal*Mart, etc. Consequently, VANOC (Vancouver Organizing Committee) will be stretched thin trying to also develop ways to assist small and midsize businesses leverage Olympic momentum. Surprisingly, many people don't realize the event can also be lucrative for smaller businesses including agriculture, manufacturers, entertainment, technology, retail & obviously tourism, even when they don't have products or services that appeal to Olympic fans or serve a direct Olympic need.


The information we share here is invaluable in helping small and midsize businesses leverage Olympic momentum.

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