Ken (and Loretta) offer their post- Winter Olympic Games thoughts to increase viewership
Every two years, we celebrate the world’s athletes, their incredible stories of sacrifice, and the spirit of Olympic competition. Once upon a time — back before cell phones and the internet—the whole world tuned in. Now, not so much. Why? Well, as all her readers know, my alter-ego, Loretta, is a marketing genius. Together, we were retained last week to answer just that question. Two Coconut Porters later, each, here are our top suggestions for an Olympic facelift.
Let’s start with the obvious—Olympic programming needs help and marketing executives need a better sense of humor. Go younger with your target audience, folks, and tell a few Hope Hicks “white lies” for the sake of entertainment.
Take the biathlon competition — what the hell? Without historical context, no one knows why it is an event. I mean, totally uff da, right? What do cross-country skiing and target shooting have in common? Ah, but there’s the disconnect for TV viewership that could easily be explained, tongue-in-cheek, by a simple video clip of two ancient ancestors of Sven and Ole, the mythical Norwegian jokesters. In the clip, their fur-clad cave wives hand them makeshift skis and crude spears, push them out of the cave, and then instruct them: “Don’t come home without a mammoth, dear.” That’s the historical marital roots of today’s biathlon. I know — there’s absolutely no need to explain further. Better yet, you only need to connect the dots once. You can’t un-connect that visual, ever.
Now to sponsorships. Samsung, I am sorry. I love your smartphones, but you are not an appropriate title sponsor. The Winter Games need a title sponsor that actually fits the Winter Games, year-in and year-out. With all due respect to the Netherlands, Norway — the little David that slew Goliath- -should be the Winter Games permanent title sponsor, no matter the snowy venue. They just killed it, again, at PyeongChang. No surprise there. After all, if you do your research, the Winter Games were invented by the Norwegians, for the Norwegians, to justify their ski fetish between shots of akvavit during the winter. From here forward, we should dub the biannual competition, “the Norwegian Winter Olympic Games.” Besides, Norway has oil money; they can afford to pay. The rest of us are just their guests for the most part anyway.
And here’s another simple sponsorship suggestion—solicit sponsors for specific events. The halfpipe competitions, for instance, are scary displays of aerobatics that only under-30, pimple-faced fools smoking pot would attempt. Thus, the name of the venue — the halfpipe, otherwise known as false courage. Colorado, Oregon, California, and Washington, one of you need to hire Shaun White, the snowboarder, to promote your fledgling legal marijuana industries during the next Winter Games. Feel free to nod your heads in private.
Samsung, don’t despair. If you team with Google, there’s a sponsorship-specific event for your smartphones and the Google Map app. The Austrian cross-country skier who lost a silver medal because she made the wrong turn in her race is a “ready-made” spokesperson.
Amazon, you need to step up, too, and sponsor all luge, bobsleigh and skeleton events. Imagine a commercial with a luge competitor ordering from Amazon Prime at the top of the run, only to have the package delivered at the bottom only two minutes later. Now that’s fast — faster even than Jimmy John’s. Mr. Bezos, I don’t often have two “mammoth” ideas in one Final Word, but for 10 percent of the net pro ts, you are welcome to use the concept. Sign here, please.
And listen up, AARP, enough with the life insurance and funeral service “offer” letters in my mailbox at home. The slalom, giant slalom and downhill events are metaphors
for life. Sponsor them. After a life of dodging children at a frenetic pace, and then dodging professional obstacles at a slighter slower pace, retirement is even more frightening. Fill the humor void, AARP, the parallels are obvious. I may just buy something if you do. (Okay, not a chance.) Likewise, Paul Mitchell, Gene Juarez, and Aveda, get out of your marketing boxes and sponsor the curling competition. No one knows the competition isn’t about hair.
Bottom line, the answer to declining viewership isn’t rocket science. Be creative, humor sells — and the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo are just around the corner. As the host for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, Japan recently proposed adding video games and “hacking” as new events. La-Z-Boy and Duluth Trading Company, you had better jump on the opportunity if the event is approved. Nothing says boxers or briefs, and recliners (and self-administered catheters), like video games and hacking.
Unfortunately, WikiLeaks, the “hacking” competition for 2020 is already closed. Russia and North Korea were awarded gold and silver in advance. So take your bronze medal and be happy, Julian, living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. How’s your tan lines these days?