How content marketing could have given the Rio build-up some buzz

Has an overreliance on PR and a lack of personal content led to poor pre-Olympic buzz? By Emily Lewis

The prospect of Rio 2016 has been met with a distinct lack of international excitement. Following the Zika virus drama, Russian doping scandal and on-going political problems, a successful opening ceremony seems far from reach.

Has Brazil failed in its PR, advertising – and even content marketing? If so, where do these failures lie and how can they inform our own marketing campaigns?


The build up to the Rio Olympics has lacked impact and the event has seemed distant from the average Britain. Sponsors adverts have raised some awareness but the organisers have missed the chance to capitalise on social media. Changes to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram prioritise the sharing of video content but there’s been little in evidence.

The official social accounts boast 1 million followers on Facebook and nearly 800k on Instagram, but what’s been shared so far has failed to be current or engaging. The content feels dry, and Rio has missed the opportunity to let the personality of the city and its inhabitants connect with a global audience.

Where were the heart-warming tales of transformation and anticipation – perhaps snackable mini-documentaries – that would have given life to the build up?

Content marketers can fall into the same trap by failing to allow the connection between individuals within your business and your audience. Giving individuals a voice builds authenticity and demonstrates expertise, creating subtle but vital differences from the competition.


The build up for the London 2012 games was huge in the UK. Nearly all of this local pre-event excitement can be put down to the host nation effect – yet it feels as though there has been something missing from Brazil’s build-up.

Perhaps Brazil has relied too heavily on PR. London 2012 had the benefit that the media was rooting for them: every good news story was picked up. ‘Games makers’ became national heroes and every torch bearer was a celebrity.

The marketing team for Rio 2016 may have been churning out huge amounts of PR but the media has passed them by as the focus on negative coverage of the preparations, including health threats, crime problems and political upheaval. The organisers have been unlucky – but should they not have had a Plan B in case their PR efforts failed to hit home?

This is where content marketing could have come into the mix. While press coverage can be negative (or negligible), and advertising costs can rack up quickly, content marketing allows a way to connect with audiences in a way that benefits them while also sharing your message. The goodwill of media editors does not come into it.

Content that works

Creation of content that is current, has personality and allows the target audience to connect is vital.

By the time Rio 2016 realised that their PR efforts were failing it would have been too late to create their own content with which to bypass the media negativity.

Businesses need to be agile, though on a different scale. The best marketing organisations will be able to change plans to respond to events and changes in the competitive landscape. This could mean scaling up (or down) their content creation, and this is where content marketing platforms can be effective.






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