PtG Article 27.03.2009

The 2012 Olympics in London unlikely to meet IOC’s aims

The 2012 Olympics in London is unlikely to meet the International Olympic Committee’s aims of being a lever for engaging with children, inspiring young athletes and fostering social cohesion, according to most research carried out to date.

A study by Opinium Research found that 68 per cent of UK residents are not inspired by the Olympics and that six per cent are actively deterred from sport by the prospect of the country hosting the world’s biggest sporting event.

Opinium’s research revealed that 39 per cent of respondents believe that the Olympics will not provide any long-term benefits to the UK and that tax payers’ money is better spent on the health service, transport and education.

Opinium’s research was carried out before unexpected British success at the 2008 Olympics. However, two further studies carried out as the Beijing Games were culminating do not make happy reading for the IOC.

GfK NOP’s study showed a mere 20 per cent of those polled would be inspired to take up a sport or do more exercise.

The study also found that 73 per cent of the British public did not expect their region to get any benefit from the Olympics.

Even those respondents who played in sport are relatively downbeat according to GfK NOP - 53 per cent of people who regularly participate in sport do not expect any benefit from the Olympics in their region.

Carried out at the end of last summer, this poll did find that 20 per cent of respondents were ‘very positive' about the 2012 Games and another 36 per cent were ‘quite positive.’

Reaching the IOC’s crucial youth market will need enhanced digital access and embracing modern technologies, according to another study by MEC Access.

This research suggested that British interest in the Games and awareness of the social benefits will grow over the next three years.

MEC Access found that 52 per cent of the UK public either ‘loved’ or ‘liked’ the Olympics and that these people were upbeat, ambitious and adventurous.More than half of the respondents expect the 2012 Olympics to contribute to feeling of ‘nation building’ or social cohesion.

The MEC Access report is aimed at brand managers seeking to develop commercial programmes linked the event, and the agency's managing partner Tove Okunniwa concludes: “To be a success in London will require … a clear understanding of target consumer groups.”

Companies are already gearing up to exploit the 2012 Olympics as another global marketing opportunity.

Cola, McDonalds and Cadbury are all Olympic sponsors and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has already stated its intention to work with big name brands to use the Games to tackle issues including sustainable development and health awareness, including child obesity.