Tim Longhurst's Blog

How a sell-out olympics means rows of empty seats

August 12th, 2008 · 1 Comment

When people say the Olympics has “sold out”, what they may actually mean is that the Olympics are more about “selling out” to corporate sponsors than ensuring people actually see the games live…

There are a number of reasons that Olympic stadium seats are empty in these ‘sold out’ Olympics. Here is the reason I find the most compelling:

Sponsors, media rights holders and government officials aren’t using their tickets; or, they are using their tickets for only a portion of the allocated time (tickets secure the holder a seat for an entire ‘session’, which usually lasts several hours).

The Olympics cost sponsors, media rights holders, government officials and committees (IOC, national Olympic committees and sporting authorities) a lot of time and money, and part of their reward includes allocations of tickets.

So the question is, how do tickets that won’t be used get allocated efficiently now and at the next games? Part of the answer may come from Wimbledon, helpfully, the home of the 2012 Olympic games:

“Wimbledon operates a ticket resale system, with tickets surrendered during the day resold and the proceeds donated to charity.

When spectators decide to leave before the end of a day’s play, they are encouraged to place their ticket in special boxes located around the ground.

These tickets are then re-printed and sold at the resale kiosk, which opens mid to late afternoon.”

This is a positive Public Relations opportunity

Well that’s straight forward: Olympic sponsors / ticket holders could quickly register the tickets they won’t be using each day online… The organisation that releases the most amount of tickets through the system (and therefore raises the most money for charity) could receive some kind of recognition, as a way of rewarding organisations that would otherwise be leaving seats empty.

At these games, though, a more basic system can come into play – if sponsors have tickets they won’t be using, give them away! Just about anyone on the street would gladly receive the gift. It’s much more sporting than just letting a ticket go unused because you couldn’t find someone schmooze-worthy to take!

If you represent an Olympic sponsor (General Electric, Johnson and Johnson, Kodak, Lenovo, Manulife, McDonalds, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung, Visa, Sinopec, CNPC, China Mobile, Volkswagen, Adidas, Air China, PICC, State Grid…) and/or you’ve got an innovative method of ensuring ticket allocations are used, post it!

Zàijiàn! Tim

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Category: Corporate craziness

McGreenpeace?

August 3rd, 2006 · No Comments

31 thousand Mcdonalds ‘restaurants’ serve 47 million customers daily. Almost everything they sell is served in paper, plastic or styrofoam.

So you can imagine my surprise when Greenpeace email me celebrating a ‘McVictory‘.

Ronald Mcdonald hugging a tree isn’t what comes to mind when i picture a company that serves almost everything they sell in cardboard.

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Category: Our living planet

McDonalds’ nutritional information: i’m missin’ it.

May 30th, 2005 · No Comments

supersizeme.jpgMorgan Spurlock’s film, Super Size Me, documents the near-collapse of his body as he ate nothing but McDonald’s for a month.

When the film came to Australia, McDonald’s CEO, Guy Russo, went into damage control.
He ran an advertising campaign that pointed out, for example, that consumers were encouraged to make informed food choices. Nutritional information posters, he advised, were now clearly displayed in all restaurants.

No sooner had the movie disappeared from cinemas, than the posters began disappearing from restaurants.

Instead of big posters, McDonald’s nutritional information is now stuck on the wrappers of many (but not all) of their products. This means customers can easily discover exactly how fatty and sugar-filled their food is – after they’ve paid for it.

If displaying the nutritional “value” of their food on in-store posters is an idea so good that McDonald’s made a 30-second TV commercial about it, then why are the posters missing? If McDonald’s is serious about puting
nutrition at the top of consumers minds at the point of purchase, the posters should be returned to high
visibility areas in each and every restaurant.

I doubt McDonalds management visit my website very often, so you might like to call them and have a chat: (02)
9875 6666. Let me know how you go.

Supersize Me movie website
McDonalds Australia – contact form

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Category: Corporate craziness

Advertising to kids through music

March 31st, 2005 · No Comments

macrap.jpgMcDonald’s has offered to pay high profile rappers $5 every time a song “namechecking” (mentioning) the “Big Mac” is played.

“Even as food companies pay lip service to the idea of responsible marketing, they increasingly turn to new and deceitful ways of targeting children,” – Dr Susan Linn, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (USA).

Read the whole story on BBC

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Category: Corporate craziness