MEC Access predicts London 2012 will be the Olympic Games of the youth

16 October, 2008


Latest research from MEC Access, the sports, entertainment and cause marketing division of Mediaedge:cia (MEC), predicts that the London 2012 Olympic Games will provide a unique opportunity for sponsors to engage with the highly coveted 16-24 year old youth audience.

The Olympic Games is much more than just another sporting event and London 2012 already has a personality ideally placed to enable brands to connect with the youth audience and capture their imagination while the memories of Beijing are fresh in their minds.

Brands continually try to engage with the highly desirable youth audience, whether through alternative sporting events, music festivals or other sponsorship techniques. However, the Olympics is already a powerful existing platform and MEC Access’ research proves how London 2012 provides a unique opportunity for brands to achieve this. The research shows that when asked about London 2012 brand associations, words such as desirability, difference and creativity were among the most recalled attributes. This highlights how the London 2012 Olympic Games are already perceived as being different to all other Olympic Games. These characteristics resonate with a youth audience as 22% recalled desirability, 30% recalled difference and 32% recalled creativity. This supplements the core attributes associated with the Olympic brand overall; adventurous, brave, friendly and fun that were also highly recalled answers by the younger cohort of respondents showing that this audience really do view London 2012 as a unique Olympic Games.

The research also reveals that it was young people that had the greatest increase in engagement in the Olympics. The 18-24 age group jumped from 6% engagement (those who said they liked or loved the Olympics) prior to Beijing 2008 – the lowest engagement of any age group – to more than 30%, the highest engagement of all ages. Findings showed both 25-39 and the 40+ age groups had existing goodwill and engagement with the Olympics. As a result Beijing 2008 had a much less significant impact on their engagement with the brand.

The research also found that digital media will have an influential sway in engaging the youth audience. During Beijing 2008, 41% of young people consumed the Olympics via the internet, compared to 32% 25-39 yr olds and just 18% 40+ respondents. The youth also led the way in live online viewing of Beijing 2008, with 18%, compared to 10% of 25-39 year old and 4% of 40+ consumers. This digital engagement was also recorded in social media. During a twenty day period in August 2008, samples taken across four different social media platforms revealed that there were 666,653 blog posts about the Olympic Games; twitter occurring as high as every three seconds; 389,774 forum threats; 878 social network groups and 60,328 uploaded video sites. The buzz metric for all of these platforms was considered “very high” when benchmarked against other sporting events including Wimbledon and Euro 2008.

London 2012 was linked to seven of the top 25 social network groups during this period. Although social media is not restricted to the youth audience, it is this group that leads the uptake of new digital media. These findings demonstrate the importance of London 2012 sponsors putting digital media at the heart of their strategies for engaging youth.

The research also found that there was a significant shift in consumer interest towards successful Team GB Olympic athletes with Rebecca Adlington and Chris Hoy gaining a 7% and 6% positive shift in interest respectively. Looking across the Beijing Games, the research revealed that Michael Phelps went from having a 0% interest among all age groups before the Beijing Games to having a 22% interest among the 16-24 year olds during the Beijing Olympics. This is in comparison to 14% in the 25-39 year old age range and just 5% among the 40+ age group. Usain Bolt also began the Beijing Olympics with a 0% interest among the youngest age group but ended with an 11% interest level. This compared to just 6% from the 25-39 year olds and 4% from the 40+ age range. By using successful British athletes, sponsors can achieve cut-through to further maximise their sponsorship platform with grassroots work in schools and colleges to further support their Olympic association and resonate with the youth audience.

Tove Okunniwa, managing partner, MEC Access, said: “To be a success in London will require a great deal of hard work as well as a clear understanding of target consumer groups. Our bespoke research shows that London 2012 will provide brands with a fantastic opportunity to engage a youth audience. It is clear that the Olympic Games is on a different level to other sporting events. London 2012 is a unique opportunity for British marketers, but it will be crucial that brands get their sponsorship activation right and get going as soon as possible and not six months before the Olympic Games start.”


Notes to editors:
Fieldwork was conducted between 5-8th August 2008, 15-19th August and 11-15th September, using MEC’s own Digiface through the online fieldwork company Qubic and online tracking was completed in-house using MEC’s online reputation management service and Delib, with a sample of over 3,000 respondents.

For more information, please contact:
Eulogy!

Claire Burgess
T: 020 7927 9999
M: 07736 039904
E: claire@eulogy.co.uk

Ben Gold
T: 020 7927 9999
M: 07866 765 157
E: ben@eulogy.co.uk


About Mediaedge:cia
Mediaedge:cia (MEC) gets consumers actively engaged with clients’ brands, leading to positive awareness, deeper relationships and stronger sales. Our services include brand and consumer insight and ROI, communications planning, media planning and buying, interaction (digital, direct, search), sport, entertainment and cause partnerships, retail consultancy and Hispanic marketing. Our 4,500 highly talented and motivated people work with local, regional and global clients from our 250 offices in 84 countries. We are a founding partner of GroupM, WPP’s media investment management group.
To find out more go to: www.mecglobal.com  

About MEC Access
We have combined the resources of all of our sport, entertainment and cause marketing businesses and staff to form MEC Access. This unified offer is the first to be fully integrated into a media communications agency.

With more than 350 specialized staff in over 30 locations around the world, we offer clients a one-stop shop for the creation and delivery of strategic partnerships and sponsorships across nine different platforms: arts, brand-to-brand, broadcast, cause, celebrity, film, gaming, music and sport.

MEC Access offers impartial 'rights free' advice, supported by insight and ROI solutions, and is ideally placed to advise brands on the role of strategic partnerships within the wider communications, to identify the most relevant solutions, and to implement integrated campaigns that meet clients' business objectives. www.mecaccess.com

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