The Olympic Games Tokyo 2021 are going to be known forever and ever as the first “Pandemic Games”, but also as the #Together Olympics.
Just some days before the start off the Games, the IOC unanimously decided at Tokyo adding Together (a solidarity touch) to the Olympic motto: Faster, Higher, Stronger. The IOC relaunched the campaign Stronger together as well.
The innauguration ceremony last 23rd July gathered artists from the five continents to sing John Lenon’s Imagine in hybrid (remote and presential) mode.
The #Together hue of the motto is shared also through the communication co-branded actions of the Olympic sponsors. Celebrating Tokyo 2020 (2021) Olympic Games and the unity in diversity that can bee seen and experienced at the Olympic Games only , the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Worldwide Olympic Partner Coca-Cola have collaborated on a global campaign that shows how everyone is welcome within the Olympic Movement.
The campaign, mainly provides digital engagement for the first ever “in vitro” Olympic Games. With no public at the stadiums due to the pandemic, digital becomes a key driver to keep, even increase people’s engagement when no face to face contact is possible.
Lets read below in the interview how Christopher Carroll, IOC’s Director of Digital Engagement and Marketing since October 2021, explains more about the I Belong Here co-branding initiative and about the aim and policy of the IOC in the brand partnerips field.
Question (Q).- What is the I Belong Here campaign about?
Answer (AW).- “The IOC is working closely with our Worldwide Olympic Partner, The Coca-Cola Company, to create a campaign that makes a stand for diversity and inclusion, which are important shared values of both organisations.
“I Belong Here is about inspiring a new generation with the belief that, no matter who they are or where they come from, they can find their place in the Olympic community.
“There are several different components to the campaign. My Flag Belongs Here gives people the chance to create their own personalised flag, linked to our shared values of Friendship, Excellence, Respect, Inclusion and Integrity, that they can then share on social media. Using our online flag generator, they respond to a handful of short questions and then their answers are translated into a flag design that they can also customise themselves.
“We also have an element called Gamers Belong Here, which will see Olympians going head-to-head with high profile gamers on the official Tokyo 2020 Video Game, while My Story Belongs Here provides a special filter for people to use on their social posts to show that they belong here too.
“These and other parts of the campaign are all aimed at celebrating diversity, while also demonstrating that we’re all connected. It’s the unity in diversity that makes the Olympic Games so unique and special.”
Q.- Why have the IOC and Coca-Cola launched this campaign?
AW.- “Ever since the adoption of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC has tried to create a closer connection with people around the world through digital platforms, aiming to engage fans and attract new followers not only during the Olympic Games but also in the period between each edition of the Games. The recent adoption of Olympic Agenda 2020+5 has only reinforced that goal, with Recommendation 8 stating that we should “Grow digital engagement with people.
“We at the IOC believe we are at a pivotal point in for our organisation and our relationship with our fans. Our ability to be relevant to our audience will in part determine the direction and success of the Olympic Movement in the future.
“We believe that, by embracing digital engagement, we can build even stronger relationships with people and promote the Olympic values to a wider, younger audience. We cannot expect these people to come to us; we must go to them. And they are engaging more than ever on digital platforms, so a campaign such as this allows us to reach them in a very natural way.
“I Belong Here also integrates with the IOC’s Stronger Together campaign, which also highlights this message of solidarity and the power of the Olympic Games to unite people, communities and societies across the globe.”
Q.- What do you hope to achieve through this campaign?
AW.- “Specifically, we’re aiming to engage younger Gen Z and Millennial fans and drive awareness around the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, but more broadly we want to celebrate diversity around the world and demonstrate that everyone is welcome in the Olympic Movement.
“Nowhere is that better demonstrated than at the Olympic Games, which are the only event that brings together the entire world in peaceful competition. Looking around the Olympic Village, you will see athletes from every possible background living together in peace. You will see basketballers and gymnasts. You will see weightlifters and marathon runners. There truly is a place for everyone, and we believe this unity in diversity should be celebrated, which is why we want to invite the world to express the values they share with the Olympic Movement.”
Q.- How important is it for the IOC to be able to collaborate with partners such as Coca-Cola on initiatives like this?
AW.- “The IOC’s partners are invaluable to us. We all share the same values, and partners like Coca-Cola, with their global footprint, play a vital role in helping us spread those values to fans around the world through co-creation campaigns such as I Belong Here. On our own, the IOC simply would not be able to reach and engage as many people. Together we create mutual value for both organisations. Recently, we have been collaborating more closely than ever with our Worldwide Olympic Partners to work towards our common goals in the hope of making an even greater impact, while connecting with our fans and audiences around causes that we all believe in, and showing that they can be a genuine part of the Olympic community.”
About Christopher Carroll:
This US-born communications and marketing expert, who joined the IOC as its first Digital Engagement Director ever, has spent most of his professional life in various countries and cultures.
He has a proof and extensive experience building iconic brands and leading digitally innovative, fully-integrated global media programmes.
Carroll joined the IOC from 90/24 Media in Amsterdam, where he was a Managing Partner and Chief Commercial Officer. Before that, he worked in diverse marketing and communications positions for global brands such as Under Armour, Heineken International and The Coca-Cola Company.
In his previous marketing leadership roles, Carroll led a digital-first approach across digital channels to establish connections with consumers worldwide. He has considerable experience of marketing in the tech world, using data-driven marketing for the delivery of digital and social media programming to global sports fans.
Image over the headline.- Christopher Carroll (Director of Digital Engagement and Marketing at the IOC).© IOC.
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