Will you accept this gold medal? How ABC is capitalizing on the Olympics
February 22, 2018
It’s Wednesday night – my Olivia Pope wine glass (code for abnormally large wine glass) is filled with a hefty pour of rosé, my feet are up and none other than The Bachelor is on TV. I don’t have cable, so I’m watching it a couple of days after it aired following mentally tiresome days dodging every social media spoiler so the surprise of who goes home this week isn’t ruined. And when checking Twitter is part of your job description, that’s no small feat.
But then it dawned on me. While I was catching up on who Bachelor Arie eliminated after telling her family he wouldn’t break their daughter’s heart, a new Bachelor franchise was airing simultaneously. That’s right – last week Bachelor launched its latest spinoff, Bachelor Winter Games, bringing together past contestants from Bachelor’s international seasons, including Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.
ABC purposefully aligned its new reality show with this year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Producers went all out on the show’s theme, and even hosted an opening ceremony complete with a full-blown parade to kick off the festivities. Each country’s “team” sported matching track suits as announcers introduced them to the crowd, all while the Winter Games anthem played in the background. The show mixes fun athletic competitions with all the drama that ensues when dozens of attractive singles go ‘looking for love’ on national television. This marketing tactic helped propel Bachelor Winter Games into Primetime, and when it comes to lessons for PR professionals, there’s a few to be had.
Working in this industry, it’s crucial to know what headline making events are taking place throughout the year. Whether it’s a holiday, a huge conference, the Olympics or simply a current media trend, there may be a way to newsjack those headlines and get your client even more exposure. On the flipside, some clients may want to avoid launching a new product the week of April Fool’s Day, for example, or around some of tech’s biggest shows, like Dreamforce, Microsoft Ignite or SXSW, so their announcement doesn’t get lost in the noise.
These events can also be a time to flex a little creative muscle and proactively make a media splash. For example, last year team Ibotta inserted itself into the Halloween news cycle with data highlighting the best and worst states for trick-or-treating. The campaign netted this piece in USA Today, which was syndicated all over the place. Double whammy! Then there’s team DomainTools, who conducted a survey ahead of Cyber Monday about how shoppers protect themselves while making online purchases during the holidays. USA Today, Forbes, NBC, and Yahoo Finance all covered the story.
Last but not least, the event could just provide some good old inspiration, serving as a jumping off point for the larger story you want to tell. Team HomeStreet Bank piggybacked on Valentine’s Day to pitch a story about why banks are increasingly “breaking up” with branches to showcase the client’s commitment to human relationships, one of its key differentiators. This holiday hook helped them get their foot in the door with business reporters.
Whether you add key dates to your calendar or track them old school with a list on your desk, you’ll want to check-in regularly to identify upcoming holidays or trends to tap. Being in the know could lead to a sweet survey topic (with time to act on it), more creative pitches and even more productive PR planning sessions.